Imran PATEL - 21/11/2018
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Hearing: 21 November 2018
at Spring Hill Corrections Facility by AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board:
- Judge A Neil MacLean (Panel Convenor)
- Mr B McMurray
- Ms F Pimm
- Ms E Priest
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Imran Patel is before the Board for the third time at age 29.
- He has a statutory release date of 12 September 2019.
- The circumstances of his offending are set out in previous Board decisions but in summary involved a troubling series of events involving the distribution of highly objectionable and violent videos relating to the activities of ISIS in Syria.
- The previous Board in February noted that he was to be seen by a psychologist.
- The latest report notes that there had been one or two issues in custody albeit some time ago.
- A very detailed psychological report dated 16 October gives the Board considerably more information and concluded that overall considering his static risk factors (his RoC*RoI is .327) he was considered at moderate–low risk for reconviction and imprisonment within five years and based on static and dynamic factors at moderate risk of general violent offending as part of an historic general anti-social pathway.
- The report went on to comment that risk for terrorism involvement is complex and complicated by a number of difficulties with the lack of empirical evidence, due to low base rates of offending, and that radicalisation does not necessarily mean an individual will engage in terrorist behaviour and vice versa.
- That report then went into some depth about his pathway into the offending including growing up in a stable home environment where Muslim beliefs were encouraged but not strictly imposed.
- It then traversed how he became involved with gangs in the Auckland area and his developing interest in Middle East affairs and the predicament of Sunni Muslims in the Middle East.
- The report concluded with a recommendation that, following eight extended individual psychological sessions between October 27 and May 2018, the report writer agreed with the treatment provider that no further psychological intervention is recommended whilst in prison unless there was a clear escalation in risk. Further follow-up psychological sessions are recommended upon release. Also, that there be a reintegration meeting after or upon release with all important people involved with his reintegration plan and to try and ensure that whilst under the parole the time be used to the best advantage to help a successful reintegration.
- The Board was considerably assisted by comprehensive written submissions by his counsel, Ms Priest, which she spoke to.
- The thrust of the submission is that bearing in mind that offenders must not be detained any longer than is consistent with the safety of the community, Mr Patel has reached the point where he has engaged well and addressed his risk. That he is now with the benefit of short life-skill programmes and advice and assistance from others, changed to a position where he is now expressing pro-social life goals and that his time in prison has enabled him to reflect on his life and evaluate and improve on the attitudes that contributed to his offending. In particular that he has taken on-board education and knowledge and moderated his thinking and beliefs.
- Further, that he has a good social report and an offer of accommodation with [withheld].
- Ms Priest pointed to the work done with a Departmental psychologist but also a very full involvement as part of the release plan with a proposed rehabilitation programme under the auspices of [withheld], including consultation with another clinical psychologist in Wellington.
- There was also tabled for the Board’s consideration a very comprehensive proposed religious rehabilitation programme drawing on the input from two Departmental psychologists.
- That report explains in detail the operations of [withheld rehabilitative programme].
- The report from [withheld], a community advisor, provided the Board with a very in-depth analysis of the issues surrounding Mr Patel's assimilation into New Zealand society and the problems for a young Muslim man in a religiously contradictory environment with starkly contradicting values and principles at play throughout his life from different members in authority.
- The report notes that the whole process involving the court and parole has forced Mr Patel back to revisit the basis of his existence, and to revisit fundamental aspects of his identity including his faith. He notes the developing of the strength and ability to remain calm and approach with a positive way his own identity even under difficult circumstances.
- [withheld] now can provide a professional comprehensive rehabilitative programme which has not hitherto been available until very recently. He concludes that Mr Patel is now a good prospect for parole given his progress and that accompanied by comprehensive release conditions, including guidance on religious matters, a general full wrap-around support package can be put in place which should help mitigate any risk of reversion to previous unacceptable behaviour.
- A comprehensive outline of the people available to support Mr Patel, and an outline of a proposed religious education course for him, is also set out in the document.
- Having considered all those matters and addressing the issue of risk if released on parole, the Board is satisfied that it would be now appropriate. There will be quite comprehensive release conditions in addition.
- As a further opportunity to monitor the position the Board will see him again for a face-to-face monitoring hearing in March, just to review progress and help ensure that the proposed quite ambitious plan is being adhered to and that there are no problems.
- Accordingly, he is released on parole on [withheld] December 2018 on standard conditions and the following special conditions to run for six months past his statutory release date. The curfew could be reviewed at the time of the progress hearing depending on how matters develop.
(1) To reside at [withheld] or any other address approved in writing by a Probation Officer, and not move from that address unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(2) To be at your approved address between the hours of 10pm and 6am daily unless you have the prior written approval of a probation officer.
(3) To comply with any direction made under section 29B(2)(b) of the Parole Act 2002 to attend a hearing in March 2019 at a time and place to be notified to you.
(4) Not to possess or distribute any material that promotes the destruction of or hatred for any religious, ethnic or other group of people.
(5) To attend a psychological assessment and attend, participate in and complete any recommended treatment as directed by a Probation Officer.
(6) To attend, participate in and complete the [withheld] Rehabilitative Programme as developed for you as directed by a probation officer.
(7) Not to possess or use any electronic device capable of accessing the internet, other than a device that has been approved in writing by a Probation Officer and upon request, make available to a Probation Officer, or his or her agent, any electronic device capable of accessing the internet that is used by you, or is in your possession or control, for the purpose of monitoring your use of the device.
(8) Not to enter Avondale Islamic Centre (aka Block House Bay Mosque), 122 Blockhouse Bay Rd, Auckland, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(9) To submit to electronic monitoring as directed by a Probation Officer in order to monitor your compliance with any conditions relating to your whereabouts.
(10) To comply with the requirements of electronic monitoring and provide unimpeded access to your approved residence by a Probation Officer and/or representatives of the monitoring company for the purpose of maintaining the electronic monitoring equipment as directed by a Probation Officer.
(11) Not to initiate any media contact directly or indirectly by way of television, radio, print and social media including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or contribute to any website by way of post or otherwise. To decline by “no comment” any request from any media for an interview or for any information about yourself, your offending, imprisonment or rehabilitation.
Judge A Neil MacLean