MARSH - Gresham Kirsten Leith - 05/09/2018
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Gresham Kirsten Leith MARSH
Hearing: 6 September 2018
at Invercargill Prison
via AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board:
- Judge C Blackie – Panel Convenor
- Mr N Trendle
- Ms F Pimm
- Assoc Prof. P Brinded
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Gresham Marsh made a further appearance before the Board on 6 September 2018. He is currently serving a sentence in respect of two counts of murder, for which his sentence commencement date was 19 July 1994.
- He was previously before the Board on 28 September 2017, when it was noted that there was still an ongoing risk of violence, indeed a high risk, and that he needed to produce a firm accommodation and community support plan.
- In the past 12 months there have been a number of developments. The first is that as a result of a misconduct November 2017 he was transferred from Otago Corrections Facility to Invercargill Prison where he remains. Secondly, this to some extent has interfered with what otherwise may have been his release plans.
- Mr Marsh is represented by counsel, Mr J Lovely. The Board received a brief memorandum from his counsel indicating that parole was not being sought at this time and asking for an adjournment for up to three months to enable Mr Marsh to produce a suitable release address.
- Despite the absence of Mr Lovely from today’s hearing, the Board nevertheless proceeded to speak with Mr Marsh and his supporters, who are recorded as being [withheld].
- When questioned by the Board, Mr Marsh indicated that his current plan is to approach either the [withheld] with a view to taking advantage of their facilities or, alternatively, the [withheld]. At this stage, no firm approach had been made and no practical proposals are available to be discussed with the Board.
- Earlier, Mr Marsh had been referred to the [withheld] but had declined to progress with their services on account of reluctance on his part to be associated with other prisoners, particularly in a live-in situation. He mentioned that whereas he had been involved in the number of courses with other prisoners as group members, he did not feel comfortable associating with prisoners in a community situation. Board members advised Mr Marsh that this would significantly restrict the options that are likely to be available on release having regard to the need to ensure the ongoing safety of the community.
- It is unfortunate that Mr Marsh was unable to produce to the Board any support persons or whānau other than those that would exist in the more formal organisations, to which reference has already been made.
- Clearly, it is too early to consider Mr Marsh for release on parole. Little has changed since the previous Board hearing on 28 September 2017. Further time is going to be required for his options to be explored and for him to put forward some practical propositions as to his release plan and, more particular, his safety plan. This would have to include appropriate accommodation.
- Reference was made during the hearing to two letters that had been received from support persons in the [withheld] area. It may well be worthwhile Mr Marsh exploring as to whether these persons are able to have any more direct involvement in his release plans.
- For today, parole is declined. Mr Marsh will be rescheduled for a further hearing in 18 months’ time, that is by the end of March 2020.
Judge C Blackie