Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Gresham Kirsten Leith MARSH
Hearing: 7 December 2016 at [Withheld]
Members of the Board:
DECISION OF THE BOARD
1. We have seen Gresham Marsh once again today in connection with parole.
2. He is serving a life sentence of imprisonment for the murder of John and Josephine Harrison in 1994. He committed these crimes with a co-offender, Leith Ray, in the course of a home invasion.
3. Mr Marsh was last seen on 29 June this year. The focus at that stage was on the suitability of the accommodation offered by [Withheld] and [Withheld], and the further interventions required to address his risk of re-offending.
4. In the intervening period, Mr Marsh has continued to reside in the Self Care Unit and, until recently, went outside the wire on a regular basis to shop for his unit. He has also gone outside the wire in the course of his employment as a mule driver.
5. He has not had access to the one-to-one psychological treatment which the June Board supported. Nor have the issues with regard to [Withheld] and [Withheld] home been satisfactorily resolved.
6. Notwithstanding that, Mr Marsh once again sought to be released on parole.
7. We were told that the stumbling block to his participation in psychological counselling was the fact that he did not have a release date and that others, on finite sentences have been taking, and will continue to take, priority over him.
8. Probation reassessed the property at [Withheld] a couple of days ago and have deemed it unsuitable. They say that while it is technically suitable for electronic monitoring, the monitoring company will not visit there, as the owner’s dogs are unsecured. They also have concerns about the degree to which Mr Marsh kept information from Community Corrections around his previous use of the property to maintain a relationship, and they believe that [Withheld] and [Withheld] were not forthcoming about having overseas students staying at their property when Mr Marsh was previously there on temporary release.
9. We discussed those issues today. [Withheld] and [Withheld] are adamant that the current tenant of the flat offered to Mr Marsh will leave when he has a release date. Secondly, they say they have discussed their dogs with a representative of the monitoring company, and any concerns about them can be met.
10. That may be so, but in our view these matters need to be worked through formally as, given Mr Marsh’s background, it is important that his sponsors and Probation can work together and trust each other so that the sponsors have no hesitation in disclosing any breaches or concerning behaviour by Mr Marsh, if he were to be released to them. If that cannot happen, Mr Marsh may need to come up with an alternative release plan.
11. We made enquiries with regard to the counselling and are pleased to note that Mr Marsh is currently number 6 in the waitlist, and that he will be provided with treatment in the first quarter of next year.
12. We remain of the view that this intervention is essential. We note that Mr Marsh elected to leave the STURP programme before engaging in the recommended graduates group and that there are matters raised in the last psychological report which he would benefit from addressing prior to release. This work should take place in prison.
13. In the circumstances, parole is declined. Mr Marsh’s next hearing will be during the week beginning 4 September 2017. A post treatment psychological report is required for that hearing. This should address his engagement in treatment, identify any areas that would benefit from further intervention, and if so identify what they should be, and where they can best be provided, and finally, but most importantly, assess his current risk and the strength of his release plan.
14. Finally, we make it clear that this decision should not be seen as binding any future Board. Each Board makes its own decision on the basis of the information then available.
Hon. MA Frater