VAN DER PLAAT - Ronald -13/11/2015
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Ronald VAN DER PLAAT
Hearing: 13 November 2015 at [Withheld]
Members of the Board:
Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor)
Mr P Elenio
Mr L Tawera
Support Person: [Withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. Ronald Van der Plaat is in the last six months of a series of sentences totalling 15 years 10 months for serious sexual offending and, more recently, for making an intimate visual recording. His statutory release date is 11 May 2016.
2. Mr Van der Plaat was last before the Board in December 2014 when parole was declined. His release proposal at that stage was to return to his own home in [Withheld]. Mr Van der Plaat has accepted that any release to that address would require GPS monitoring, which he was agreeable to. He had planned for his [Withheld] to return from [Withheld], where she now lives, to provide support for an initial period. That proposal was not assessed as suitable by Community Corrections for various reasons. Since then Mr Van der Plaat, through his lawyer. has applied to return to the Board earlier than today’s scheduled date on the basis that advances had been made with respect to his release proposal.
3. His release plan remains essentially the same. Through his lawyer, [Withheld], who helpfully filed submissions in advance of today’s hearing, Mr Van der Plaat says that he is willing to be monitored by GPS and moreover he has installed a booster in his apartment to ensure that one of the impediments to his release is met. He was supported by his [Withheld], [Withheld], who is in New Zealand for a short period, with plans to return later. Community Corrections also attended the hearing.
4. The Board received a memorandum dated 12 November prepared by [Withheld] which requested that Mr Van der Plaat remain in custody to enable fuller release planning in his home district. The memorandum outlined the apparent deterioration in Mr Van der Plaat’s wellbeing. [Withheld] supplied the Board with a letter signed by Dr [Withheld] dated 23 April 2015 which provided further medical information.
5. It was readily apparent to the Board that limited progress was possible today. Mr Van der Plaat’s release proposal still lacks detail that would enable the Board to consider his release on parole. Firstly, the availability of his address and its suitability given his age, the state of his health and his needs remains to be confirmed. Secondly, the issue of the availability of GPS monitoring requires clarification. Both Community Corrections and [Withheld] confirmed their availability to work on a plan for Mr Van der Plaat’s release from prison. As Community Corrections acknowledged, he will be leaving prison at the latest in May of next year and there is a need for matters to progress. They requested that the Board support Mr Van der Plaat’s transfer to an [Withheld] prison so that the necessary assessments can be made as the local District Health Board will be engaged to ascertain the support that they are able to provide.
6. The Board needs to record its observation that it is by no means clear that Mr Van der Plaat’s proposal will provide the basis for his safe return to the community. Other options may well need to be explored. We leave that, however, to the parties who have indicated that they will work to develop a safe release plan.
7. Parole today is declined. The Board could not be satisfied on the material before us that Mr Van der Plaat’s present proposal would sufficiently mitigate his risk to the safety of the community to allow the Board to direct his release on parole. Considerable work is needed to fill out a release plan that will meet his needs and the needs of the community.
8. Mr Van der Plaat will be scheduled to return to the Board by 29 February 2016. At present we have identified 11 or 12 February as possible dates for the parties to work to. The actual date will depend on which prison he is in at the time. While he would prefer [Withheld], we note and support Community Corrections request that he be transferred to an [Withheld] prison, at least initially, where his needs can be further assessed and his release plan to be developed.