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HOLDEM - Peter Joseph - 29/05/2017

Hearing for Postponement Order

27(4)(b) of the Parole Act 2002

Peter Joseph HOLDEM

Hearing: 29 May 2017 Via AVL from NZPB Head Office, Wellington to (withheld)

Members of the Board:

  • Ms K Snook (Panel Convenor)
  • Ms P Rose

    Ms G Hughes
  • Dr J Skipworth

Counsel:

  • (withheld)

In attendance:

  • (withheld – Psychologist)

Support Persons:

  • (withheld)

DECISION OF THE BOARD

1. Peter Joseph Holdem is serving a life sentence for murder.  His sentence commenced on 13 July 1987 and he has been in prison for around 30 years.

2. Mr Holdem was seen by the Board today to consider the sole issue of postponement.  The required notice was given in the last decision of the Board dated 8 December 2016.

3. At that hearing the Board adjourned consideration of postponement on the basis of a request from (withheld), Mr Holdem’s legal counsel. (withheld) was present at the hearing today and made oral submissions on Mr Holdem’s behalf.  In advance of the hearing we received letters of support for Mr Holdem including from (withheld) who was also at the hearing today.

4. (withheld) submitted that Mr Holdem acknowledges that there is some work to do before he might meet the statutory test for a release on parole.  (withheld) said that he could see from reading the psychological addendum report dated 27 March 2017 that the work required could be seen as reasonably significant.

5. (withheld) did submit to the Board however that Mr Holdem is in a position where he feels that things have not gone well for him over recent years.  He said Mr Holdem was not able to convey his personal thoughts well and is keen to go home at some point.  (withheld) submission was that Mr Holdem does not know what he needs to do to obtain release at some point in the future.

6. In short (withheld) acknowledged that there may be merit in the Board having Mr Holdem return to the Board in a period greater than 12 months. In his view however a postponement order may not be required. Instead the Board could schedule Mr Holdem to return within the two year standard period.

7. We have read the psychological addendum report dated 27 March 2017.  We note that this continues to assess Mr Holdem as being at high risk of both sexual and violent offending.  This reflects his high score on both the PCL: SV and the ASRS.

8. The safety plan that Mr Holdem does have is described as “generic.”  The psychologist noted that Mr Holdem was said to lack fluency in relation to the content of the safety plan.  Despite earlier previous criticism of this safety plan Mr Holdem continues to present the identical plan to the psychologist.  It is not seen as sufficient to manage his high risk of re-offending.

9. The psychologist also notes that although Mr Holdem has completed intensive group and individual treatment he is said to have demonstrated little treatment gain.  The psychologist also notes that Mr Holdem’s reported lack of sexual interest cannot be considered reliable.

10. Although Mr Holdem claims not to understand what is required of him, the recommendations of the psychologist could not be clearer.  Although further group treatment, presumably the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme at [Withheld], is the preferred pathway this cannot be considered until Mr Holdem reduces his “significant responsivity factors.”  This includes fewer attempts at impression management and manipulation, acceptance of responsibility of problem behaviours (including prison conduct) and openness to challenge.

11. Mr Holdem told the Board that the difficulty he has when engaging with a psychologist is that he feels anxious and wants to say the right thing.  We told him that he needs to focus not on the “right” answer but on being open and honest with the psychologist and others before any treatment will be effective.  At the moment Mr Holdem is not waitlisted for any treatment.  This is because of the responsivity issues referred to above.  Following any treatment Mr Holdem would also need a comprehensive and offence-focused and personalised safety plan.

12. We note too that even if Mr Holdem’s rehabilitation work is completed it is likely that following the lengthy period of time he has spent in prison re-integrative activities will be crucial.

13. In our view even on the most optimistic scenario Mr Holdem has a significant degree of work to complete before he would be suitable for release.  We note in this regard that the psychologist describes Mr Holdem’s rehabilitative needs as “immense.”

14. The Board is satisfied that, in the absence of a significant change in Mr Holdem’s circumstances, he will not be suitable for release for a period of four years from the date of his last parole hearing which was 15 June 2016 (effectively around three years from today).  Accordingly Mr Holdem will be scheduled to be seen again by a Board in May 2020 and no later than the end of that month.

15. We note that (withheld) told the Board that although he was only appointed for the purpose of today’s hearing he is going to assist Mr Holdem into the future.

16. In that regard we note the provisions of section 27(6) of the Parole Act 2002. That provision provides that an offender subject to a postponement order may apply any time to the Board requesting consideration of parole on the grounds that there has been a significant change in his or her circumstances.

17. We ask that an updated psychological assessment be provided for the next Board.

Ms K Snook
Panel Convenor