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KEEPA - David Wharara - 17/05/2018

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

David Wharara KEEPA

Hearing: 17 May 2018

at Christchurch Prison via AVL to NZPB Offices, Wellington

Members of the Board:

  • Judge D Mather – Panel Convenor
  • Ms G Hughes
  • Mr A Hackney

Support Persons:

  • [withheld]

DECISION OF THE BOARD

  1. David Wharara Keepa, aged 56, appears again for consideration of parole.  He is serving a very long sentence of 12 years for a number of offences of serious sexual violence against 12 and 13 year old girls.
  2. For some time, he has been marking time on this sentence.  He completed his offence‑related treatment in the form of the Short Intervention Programme (SIP) and further psychological counselling some time ago.  He has been in self-care for a lengthy period and is managing very well there.  He is in a trusted role in the prison and we have excellent reports in that regard.
  3. His release plan is to move to supported accommodation with [withheld].  Unfortunately, they have indicated that no placement will be available until 2019.
  4. For some time, Mr Keepa has been wanting a transfer to Rimutaka Prison in Wellington so he can further build his release plan and community support.  The last Board supported that transfer.  It is a matter of concern, not only to Mr Keepa but also to the Board, that no transfer has been approved.  His Principal Corrections Officer (PCO) has obviously gone to some lengths, as well, to support transfer without success.  We again urge the merits of that for Mr Keepa.
  5. Another alternative that has been flagged is his transfer to Whanganui Prison but it is unlikely he would move to self-care straight away.  On balance, he and his PCO consider that would be a retrograde move and we agree.
  6. He has a basic but adequate safety plan.  He is regularly reviewing that and needs to, given the offending background.  He is understandably anxious about returning to the community after so long in prison, and will need a good deal of support when that occurs.
  7. [withheld] attended this hearing.  She is actively looking to engage [withheld] on Mr Keepa’s behalf.  She has indicated that there is a possibility of accommodation being obtained through those contacts.  Mr Keepa is fortunate to have that level of support.
  8. He has been assessed at moderate to low risk of sexual reoffending.  The psychologist does note that, when stressed, his recognition of high risk situations can change and that obviously needs to be addressed in the context of accommodation options.
  9. Primarily because he has no release address to go to at this time, his release on parole cannot be approved.  If that situation changes between now and his next scheduled appearance before the Board, he can apply for an earlier hearing under section 26.
  10. Parole is declined and we schedule Mr Keepa’s next appearance before the Board in November 2018, no later than 30 November.

Judge D Mather
Panel Convenor