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ANDERSON - Ross Adam - 03/09/2018

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002

Ross Adam ANDERSON

Hearing: 3 September 2018

at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison

via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington

Members of the Board:

  • Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor)
  • Ms F Pimm
  • Assoc Prof. P Brinded

Counsel:

  • Mr D Foster

Support Persons:

  • [withheld]

DECISION OF THE BOARD

  1. Ross Adam Anderson was sentenced in July 2005 to life imprisonment for murder.  His victim was the new partner of his former partner. He was also convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, the victim being his former partner.  Mr Anderson received a minimum period of imprisonment of 11 years. He became eligible for parole in April 2016.
  2. The Board referred in its last decision to Mr Anderson’s previous erratic behaviour in prison. Whilst there is reference to a number of incidents in the parole assessment report, on this occasion we note only two misconducts, both of which resulted in 10 days’ loss of privileges.
  3. There was reference made in the report to comments attributed to Mr Anderson about accessing Facebook. Whilst Mr Anderson accepts that there was a cellphone in his cell and he used it, he said that he had not accessed Facebook and is trying to have the matter clarified.  His counsel, Mr Foster, submitted that this has caused Mr Anderson some anxiety and requested the Board to specifically comment on it. So far as the Board is concerned, misconducts are the focus of our attention. On this occasion, there is no reference to any misconduct arising from the incident. So far as the Board is concerned, it is of no consequence in the context of considering him for parole.
  4. In the past, Mr Anderson has completed the Mauri Tu Pae programme, the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme (STURP) and recently, he has been engaging in psychological treatment with the psychologist. That has been extending over a 15 month period.
  5. The psychological report prepared for the Board referred to Mr Anderson’s good intellectual insight into his risk and behaviour. Nevertheless, he appears unable to implement strategies consistent with the sustained application of the knowledge and skills that he acquired during the programmes he has completed. He was briefly reclassified to high security but, on review, presently holds a low/medium security classification.  This precludes, at least until that classification is further reviewed, Mr Anderson’s progress on reintegration activities.
  6. Mr Foster appeared as counsel.  He advised the Board that Mr Anderson was realistic about his prospects for release. He sought the Board’s positive recommendation that Mr Anderson progress to Self-Care. Whilst Mr Anderson in his letter to the Board declared an unwillingness to transition to the Self-Care Units on grounds of his personal safety, Mr Foster explained that after discussing the matter with him, Mr Anderson wished to confirm that he is indeed motivated to take that step so far as his reintegration activities are concerned.
  7. There are a number of issues with respect to Mr Anderson’s mental health that arise from the psychological reports and some of his actions that indicate issues relating to his mental health require assessment. This is an area on which the Board requests further information.  Accordingly, we request that the prison forensic service assesses Mr Anderson and provide the Board with a report on the result of that assessment.
  8. Parole today is declined. Mr Anderson will be scheduled to return to the Board in 12 months by 3 September 2019. We are unable to support Mr Anderson’s progress to Self-Care at this stage as he appears to be some way off from being eligible for that step. We do nevertheless support his progress on reintegration activities that may be made available to him by the prison. When he returns for parole to be further considered next year, the Board requests the forensic report referred to and a psychological addendum.

Mr N Trendle
Panel Convenor