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TROUNSON - George Charles - 28/09/2017

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

George Charles TROUNSON

Hearing: 28 September 2017

at (withheld) via AVL

Members of the Board:

  • Hon. M A Frater (Panel Convenor)
  • Assoc. Prof. P Brinded
  • Ms F Pimm
  • Mr D Hauraki

Counsel: [withheld]

In attendance: [withheld] – Corrections Psychologist

DECISION OF THE BOARD

  1. Forty five year old George Charles Trounson is serving a life sentence of imprisonment for the murder of his flatmate in June 1990.
  2. We have seen him today, to consider his suitability for release on parole.
  3. He was represented by (withheld). We also have the benefit of comprehensive written submissions prepared by (withheld).
  4. Mr Trounson was sentenced on 26 February 1991.
  5. Since then he has been released on parole six times and subject to seven recall applications, six of which resulted in final recall orders being made.
  6. He was first released on 21 March 2001.  He remained in the community for four years 10 months until a final recall was made on 8 February 2006.  That was by far the longest time that he has spent in the community in recent years.
  7. Since then the time between release and interim recall order has varied between three and a half months and nine months.  The most recent final recall order was made on 6 December 2013.  This followed 10 and a half months when Mr Trounson was on the run.
  8. Mr Trounson last appeared before the Board on 23 August 2016.  He acknowledged, at that stage, that he was not in a position to seek parole.  His behaviour had declined and he did not have a robust release and relapse prevention plan. The Board encouraged him to consider an intensive programme such as that offered by (withheld).
  9. We are pleased to note that he has pursued that avenue, been accepted by them, and that a bed is available in the near future.
  10. There have been two reported incidents since his last hearing.  On both occasions he responded angrily and inappropriately. As the departmental psychologist, who prepared the latest Board report said, they underline the need for Mr Trounson to be mindful of the consequences of his actions. Fortunately for him, neither resulted in a proven misconduct.
  11. Overall, there has been a positive shift in his behaviour and attitude since a long standing medical issue has been resolved.
  12. The principal factor leading to Mr Trounson’s offending and all of his recalls has been the disinhibiting effects of alcohol.  Other identified factors include his inability to manage high stress levels and impulsivity.
  13. It seems that, at long last, he has shown that he can apply the lessons learned in the treatment and counselling he has engaged in since he has been in custody.
  14. Over the years Mr Trounson has engaged with most available reintegrative support providers, including the (withheld), which he has tried twice.  He has also been released to live with (withheld).  (withheld) is really his last chance. He is aware that the staff there will not hesitate to exit him from the programme if he does not engage with it and satisfactorily comply with the house rules.
  15. Mr Trounson’s longer term goal is to attend university with a view to gaining qualifications in water resource management.  In the immediate future he has his experience as an arborist to fall back on.
  16. But that is not an option for some time yet.  The issue for the Board is whether the (withheld) can manage his assessed moderate risk of serious violent re-offending.  Like (withheld), who prepared an independent psychological assessment report, we are satisfied that it can. If he can remain there, it will certainly assist his safe reintegration into the community.
  17. Accordingly, we have decided to release Mr Trounson on parole on (late) (actual date withheld) October 2017, when the bed at (withheld) becomes available.
  18. Thereafter he will be subject to the standard conditions set out in section 14 of the Parole Act 2002 for life.
  19. Unless otherwise specified, he will also be subject to the following special conditions for five years post-release.
  20. It will be noted that we have included a requirement for electronic monitoring.  This is on the basis that Mr Trounson will be subject to full residential restrictions while he is at (withheld).  Over time his Probation Officer can reduce the hours that he is subject to them.  Of course this will have to fit in with the (withheld) programme.
  21. We were not clear from the Parole Assessment Report whether Community Corrections also require GPS monitoring.  On the information we have, that is not appropriate, given that no whereabouts condition has been suggested.  However, if such a condition is sought, it is open to Community Corrections to apply for a variation prior to the date of Mr Trounson’s release.
  22. We also included a prohibition on possessing, consuming and/or using alcohol, illicit drugs or psychoactive substances. Mr Trounson was advised that following recent amendments to the Parole Act, an authorised officer, which includes a Corrections Officer or a Police Officer, can require him to undergo random testing or monitoring as, in accordance with section 16(b) and (c) of that Act.
  23. Given Mr Trounson’s unsatisfactory history on parole, it is important that his progress following the forthcoming release is monitored regularly and we have provided for this. The first monitoring hearing will be during the week beginning 5 March 2018.  Subsequent hearings can be allocated at that stage.  It is important that Mr Trounson attends the Board personally rather than by AVL, if at all possible.  A report from Community Probation is required for that hearing.
  24. The Special Conditions are:

(1) To reside at (withheld) and not to move from that or any subsequent address without the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.

(2) To undertake and complete the (withheld) Programme and abide by the rules of the programme to the satisfaction of your Probation Officer and the programme provider.

(3) To undertake and complete any other assessment, treatment or counselling directed by your Probation Officer to the satisfaction of the Probation Officer and treatment provider. The details of the intervention to be determined by your Probation Officer.

(4) To comply with the requirements of electronic monitoring, and provide access to the approved residence to the Probation Officer and representatives of the monitoring company, for the purpose of maintaining the electronic monitoring equipment as directed by your Probation Officer.

(5) Not to have contact or otherwise associate with the victim(s) of your offending, directly or indirectly, unless you have the prior written consent of your Probation Officer.

(6) Not to initiate any contact with (withheld) and to terminate any contact initiated by (withheld).

(7) To disclose to a Probation Officer, at the earliest opportunity, the start or resumption of any intimate relationship.

(8) To notify your Probation Officer prior to starting, terminating or changing your position or place of employment.

(9) Not to possess or consume alcohol or use a controlled drug or psychoactive substance.

(10) To comply with any direction made under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002 to attend a hearing at a time and place to be notified to you, to enable the Parole Board to monitor your compliance with your release conditions.

Hon. M A Frater
Panel Convenor