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SIBLEY - Luke Frederick - 14/02/2012

Parole hearing
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002

Luke Frederick SIBLEY


Hearing:
14 February 2012
at  (withheld) (via video conference link to
New Zealand Parole Board office in Wellington)

Members of the Board:
Judge DJ Carruthers
Assoc. Professor P Brinded
Mr B McMurray
Mr S Paul

Observer:
Mr A Hackney for Department of Corrections

Supporters:
(names withheld)

DECISION OF THE BOARD

Luke Frederick Sibley, aged 33, appears for parole to be considered.

Mr Sibley was convicted on a charge of murder and attempted murder at the age of 18.  He was sentenced to life imprisonment. 

He was not charged at that time with the sexual offending which was part of his murder.  We are very clear that the sexual element was dominant at the time and was part of his offending behaviour.

We say this because in the past there has been some ambivalence about Mr Sibley and that ambivalence found its way into a previous decision of the Board.

It was thought originally by Psychological Services, that he should attend the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme which focuses particularly on violence.

But that recommendation was subsequently reviewed as further information came to hand.  The latest recommendation from the psychologist’s report is that he should attend the Kia Marama Child Sex Offenders Programme and he is scheduled to begin that in July 2013.  He is waitlisted for that year. 

Last time we met with Mr Sibley there was a discussion about this and a strong submission by Mr Sibley’s (withheld) that this was a completely inappropriate thing for him to do.  At that time we lacked clarity about the situation and we had thought that the matter should be reconsidered and that individual treatment should at least be done in order to clarify what steps might be taken.

Subsequently we have been told that Mr Sibley has been reassessed for individual counselling and that is not judged to be appropriate. 

The recommendation holds and that is that he attend an intensive Child Sex Offenders Programme.  We now concur with that suggestion.

We particularly say this because we met with the mother and family of the little girl who was killed by Mr Sibley.  They gave us statements which have been sent on to Mr Sibley but unfortunately through some administrative difficulty although faxed immediately to the prison, were not shown to Mr Sibley in the usual way.  We summarised the content of those submissions to him today.  That could be simply done because there was a central message.  The central message from the victims was that he was a violent and deceitful paedophile and murderer who had committed sexual and violent crimes against an innocent three year old girl. 

That is exactly what the submissions we received were. 

There is strong supporting evidence about the sexual component of his crime being a dominant factor.  We notice that Mr Sibley himself made a statement to the Police in which he confessed his interest in little girls, and he told the Forensic Mental Health assessor before his trial that he had sexual fantasies about little girls.  There is strong evidence supporting the views of the victim that he is a sexual offender and that it was this that preceded the savage murder of an innocent three year old and the attempted murder of her mother. 

The PCO today, out of no doubt a sense of some frustration about nothing happening for Mr Sibley, has recommended that he transfer from the  (withheld)  Prison and try and get on a recently established short intensive child sex offender programme.  This is a programme which has been set up particularly for very low risk offenders or those who are deniers of their sexual offending, and is aimed particularly at that group. 

We say as clearly and as forcefully as we can that we do not think this is a programme which is suitable for Mr Sibley.  Our view, after reviewing all of the evidence now, is that it is essential that he attends the intensive Child Sex Offenders programme, whether at Kia Marama or Te Piriti and that he should undergo that and then be assessed for treatment gains in the usual way. He may also need further treatment interventions related to his violence history.

We have said this today very clearly to him and to his (withheld), his long-term friend and supporter  (withheld), and to  (withheld), who is a very experienced person, who came also in support.

They have a sense of very great frustration. Both  (withheld) and  (withheld) addressed us in a very principled way about the lack of humanity in the uncertainty for Mr Sibley in the way that they perceive that nothing had been done to assist him over preceding years.
 
There may be some truth in that and particularly about the ambivalence recently but clarity is now restored, in our view, and in any event it is not unknown in psychological and, indeed, psychiatric circles for a view of offending behaviour and the options for treating it to become clearer as the evidence is amassed and assessed, and for changes in the course of that process to occur.  We think we are at the end of that now and there is clarity about what should be done. We are very clear about what he must do in the future.

We say that again in spite of the fact that  (withheld) has expressed her shock, distress and, indeed, outrage today about the way in which this hearing proceeded.  She said it is entirely different from that which occurred last time.  She said that (the offender) is now institutionalised.  She said that the sexual content was minimal in his offending, that violence was a problem for him and that is why she had to reject him at a much earlier stage and why (withheld) also abandoned him.  She asks, in an almost unbelievable way, having regard to the brutal murder of the three year old, “how else could he have covered up what he did”.  We do not attempt to answer such a question.  Such a question casts real doubt about the quality of her support and guidance for him in the future.

We recount as much of this as seems necessary for the purpose of this decision.

The 2009 psychological report assesses Mr Sibley as being at high risk of further violent offending and moderate to low risk of further sexual offending.  We think that with the information we now have that the assessment of his sexual offending proclivity is actually understated.

He has been in the inner Self Care Units at  (withheld)  Prison.  He is extremely
well-behaved, compliant and polite.  
He has been trying to do his best to get on in prison without incurring any misconducts or incidents.  He has been doing a number of NZQS Standards.  All of these relate to his education and not to his offending behaviour.

He is waitlisted for the Child Sex Offenders Programme in 2013.  In our view it is essential that he completes that and shows gains from it before he can be considered for the next steps.

For obvious reasons parole will be declined today.

The question of postponement necessarily arises.  There is clearly going to be some time in view of our decision above before he is likely to be considered for parole again.

We will reschedule him for the postponement matter to be considered in May of this year before the extended Board.  That is the only matter which will then be considered.  He has the right to make submissions about postponement, either himself or through counsel, and in writing if he wishes, and formal notice will be sent to him.

For now, parole declined.

Judge DJ Carruthers
Panel Convenor



Review


•    You may apply for a review of the Board’s decision under section 67(1).  The only grounds under which you may make an application for review are that the Board, in making its decision:

a)    Failed to comply with procedures in the Parole Act 2002; or
b)    Made an error of law; or
c)    Failed to comply with Board policy resulting in unfairness to the offender; or
d)    Based its decision on erroneous or irrelevant information that was material to the decision reached; or
e)    Acted without jurisdiction.

•    To apply for a review you must write to the Board within 28 days of its decision stating which of the above ground(s) you consider to be relevant in your case and giving reasons why you believe that ground(s) applies.
 
•    Reviews are considered on the papers only.  There is no hearing in respect of your Review Application.