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WEBSTER - Shay Barry - 23/10/2015


Parole hearing

Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002


Shay Barry WEBSTER

Hearing: 23 October 2015  at [Withheld]

Members of the Board: 

      Ms K Snook (Panel Convenor)
      Mr B McMurray
      Mr J Thomson

Counsel: [Withheld]


1. Shay Barry Webster, 23, appeared for a first consideration of parole on a sentence of five years three months’ imprisonment for manslaughter.

2. This offending is on top of a highly concerning history of offending for a young man which includes now 61 convictions, 24 of which were in the Youth Court.  This is Mr Webster’s fifth time in Prison.

3. The index offending involved Mr Webster and a co-offender setting fire to an associate in the context of drunken allegations based on the mistaken belief that the victim had a sexual interest in children.

4. Initially Mr Webster denied his involvement in the offending.

5. Prior to losing consciousness the victim identified Mr Webster as being the person who struck the lighter.  Mr Webster’s co-offender was the person who poured petrol over the victim.

6. The sentencing notes refer to Mr Webster later acknowledging that he struck the lighter despite not immediately accepting responsibility.

7. The offending caused a terrible and tragic loss of a life as the result of highly dangerous and deliberate conduct.  Both offenders were found to be equally part of the offending and equally culpable.

8. Mr Webster’s sentence commenced on 4 December 2014, he has a parole eligibility date of 26 October 2015, and a sentence expiry date of 25 July 2018.

9. Mr Webster is on a low/medium prison security classification and has a RoC*RoI of 0.73024.

10. In advance of the hearing the Board met with several of the relatives of the victim Mr Smith.  Because Mr Webster spent 587 days on remand he is eligible for parole less than a year after his sentencing having served a minimum non-parole period of two years six months’ imprisonment.

11. We conveyed to Mr Webster a summary of what the victims said to us at the meeting.

12. In short, they remain opposed to Mr Webster’s release on parole.  They remain concerned that at trial he showed no remorse and they have seen no evidence that he has any now.  They are also concerned that Mr Webster does not really understand the seriousness of what he has done and believe that he is a danger to the community given his long history of convictions and the fact that he committed this terrible offence while on bail.

13. We have given due weight to the victims’ submissions in reaching this decision.

14. After Mr Webster was given a summary of the victims’ views, Mr Webster said to the Board that he was able to understand why the victims feel as they do. He said that if he was in their position he would not be wanting us to grant him parole either.

15. There is a good report about Mr Webster’s behaviour in Prison.

16. [Withheld] appeared today for Mr Webster.

17. [Withheld] told the Board that Mr Webster was not seeking parole.  Mr Webster is currently attending the [Withheld] Programme in relation to his clear abuse of alcohol and drugs in the community.

18. [Withheld] asked the Board to schedule Mr Webster to be seen again within 12 months for the further consideration of parole.

19. Mr Webster spoke with regret about his offending.  However he still does not know why he committed the offence. He says that he totally accepts his part in the crime but he was too drunk to fully remember the events of that night.

20. Mr Webster is said to be doing well on the [Withheld].  He was described by the officer from the [Withheld] as very quiet and withdrawn but is gaining in confidence. He is said to be well motivated to complete the course.

21. While cognitive issues were referred to in the paperwork in front of the Board they do not seem to be affecting his ability to participate in the [Withheld].

22. The information we have refers to the possibility that Mr Webster will, following completion of the [Withheld], be assessed for the [Withheld] Programme [Withheld] run out of this Prison or possibly one to one psychological counselling.  The [Withheld] is a nine month rehabilitative programme for high risk and violent offenders.

23. Mr Webster appears to accept however that he has a significant amount of work to do to try and understand what led to the offending and to ensure that, once released, something like that never occurs again.

24. Parole today is declined. Risk remains undue.

25. Mr Webster was not seeking it and we think that was very realistic.

26. We support Mr Webster completing the [Withheld] and obtaining a good report about his learning on that course.

27. We ask that immediately following Mr Webster’s completion of the [Withheld], a psychological assessment is undertaken.  That should assess Mr Webster’s risk and contain recommendations about the most appropriate treatment following his completion of the [Withheld], whether that be the [Withheld] Programme, or one to one psychological counselling

28. Mr Webster should then get on and complete whatever treatment is recommended for him.  He said to the Board today that he is motivated to do whatever is required.

29. We will schedule Mr Webster to be seen again in September 2016 and by no later than 30 September 2016.

30. For that next hearing we ask for the [Withheld] completion report and the psychological assessment which is referred to above.



Ms K Snook
Panel Convenor