MARSH - Gresham Kirsten Leith - 30/06/15
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Gresham Kirsten MARSH
Hearing: 30 June 2015
Members of the Board:
Mr N Trendle - Panel Convenor
Dr J Skipworth
Mr J Thomson
Ms P Rose
In attendance: [WITHHELD]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Gresham Kirsten Marsh is making a further appearance before the Board on his life sentence for murder imposed in July 1994.
2. When Mr Marsh was last seen by the Board in August 2014 parole was declined and he was given notice that the question of postponement would be considered at today's hearing.
3. Mr Marsh was represented by counsel [WITHHELD] who filed extensive written submissions in advance of the hearing. He outlined the reasons why, in counsel's submission, a postponement order ought not be made. He noted that Mr Marsh was presently involved in the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation programme which he should graduate from towards the end of the year. Counsel invited the Board not to make a postponement order and to set Mr Marsh's next hearing for parole to be considered in February 2015.
4. Prior to today's hearing Mr Marsh had filed a written waiver indicating that he did not wish to attend the hearing as he was participating in the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation programme. With regard to comments made in the parole assessment report that Community Corrections saw [WITHHELD] as a possible basis for a release proposal, Mr Marsh advised that he did not agree with that view.
5. It appears that after counsel [WITHHELD] spoke with Mr Marsh he had a change of heart about appearing before the Board and both appeared before us. [WITHHELD] made submissions enlarging on the written points he had made. For his part Mr Marsh indicated that he is finding STURP challenging. He said that he did not think he would have gained any new insights from his previous experience in the Violence Prevention Unit at [WITHHELD] but he was getting a lot out of the programme. Whilst he indicated that he was not at the point in the programme where reintegration activity was a focus, he would be working with [WITHHELD], the reintegration co-ordinator to develop a release plan in the course of the STURP. Both Mr Marsh and his counsel urged on the Board his preference for a release proposal to his sponsors in [WITHHELD], if necessary on a residential restrictions basis. Mr Marsh did however say that he would canvas other options in the course of his work with [WITHHELD].
6. As counsel noted in both oral and written submissions, the question of parole was not one that the Board needed to dwell on. It was common ground that parole should not be considered today. The sole question for the Board was when Mr Marsh should next be seen. Having regard to the submissions made and the progress that has been made since Mr Marsh's last hearing, the Board decided not to make a postponement order on this occasion. We are of the view that Mr Marsh should continue the work he is presently doing on the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation programme. He should then have the opportunity to consolidate the skills and tools that he gains and provide evidence to the Board of a stable period of behaviour and consolidation. Often in the past Mr Marsh's progress has been characterised by advances, followed by a step back. The Board would look for a sustained period of unblemished conduct as a next step.
7. Parole today is declined. Mr Marsh will be scheduled to return in June 2016. The Board has indicated to him that in reviewing his plans with the reintegration co-ordinator, [WITHHELD], in the Board's view, warrants appropriate consideration as providing a structured pathway when it comes time for Mr Marsh to be considered for release.
Mr N Trendle