Concerns over plans for reintegration
Mon, 27 Aug 2012 10:30a.m.
By Lloyd Burr
The judge overseeing a judicial review for Stewart Murray Wilson’s stringent parole conditions has questioned Corrections lawyers about plans for his reintegration.
Wilson – dubbed the ‘Beast of Blenheim’ - is set to be released from prison on Wednesday and 17 of New Zealand’s most stringent parole conditions have been put in place for his release.
They require Wilson to live in a house on Whanganui Prison property, be tracked by GPS and be flanked by two minders whenever he wants to leave.
Corrections say the two minders are there to help his integration into the community after being locked away for 18 years.
However Justice Ronald Young says the minders are more restrictive and act as a controlling mechanism rather than one to reintegrate him back into a functioning society.
He calls them “very concerning” and “onerous”.
“If he wants to go for a walk, he’s going to have two people with him – how is that integration?” he says.
“The whole tone of this...I just think it’s way out.
“It would surprise me if there were two people working 24 hours per day who could be called upon. That’s six full time prisoners per day, let alone the cost.”
Justice Young says Wilson has done his time in prison and has to be released but the option being proposed by Corrections is “getting very close” to being like prison.
Corrections lawyer Austin Powell says Wilson has no recent experience of functioning in a society.
“I cannot imagine a more difficult person to reintegrate into the community,” Mr Powell says.
Beast’s life ‘would be better in jail’
Andrew Mackenzie claims his client, Stewart Murray Wilson, would have more freedom in jail than under the 17 conditions imposed on him by the Parole Board.
He says Wilson’s life would be better in jail, because he could socialise with other inmates.
Mr Mackenzie is speaking at a judicial review regarding the parole conditions of Wilson, underway at the High Court in Wellington this morning.
Justice Ronald Young is hearing from the Whanganui District Council’s lawyers, who argue the 17 parole conditions imposed on the man dubbed the ‘Beast of Blenheim’ don’t go far enough.
One of the conditions in question is the GPS monitoring, which Mr Mackenzie calls “superfluous and over the top”.
“Why do you need it when he’s flanked with officers everywhere he goes,” he says. “He’s effectively in jail.”
“If it’s 3am and he wants to go down the shop to buy a bottle of L & P, he can’t if there’s no officers with him.”
But Justice Young questioned that argument.
“What if the GPS showed Wilson was outside, for example, a school or a place where there vulnerable women?
“Wouldn’t that be useful information to have?”
Wilson 'likely to reoffend'
Justice Young says it is right to assume Wilson is likely to reoffend, just as he would have done 20 or 30 years ago
“He hasn’t accepted that he’s done anything wrong...They’ve assessed him as high-risk and if given the chance to reoffend, he will. That’s the assessment,” he says.
The conditions are among the strictest ever imposed in New Zealand and require Wilson to live in a house on the grounds of Whanganui Prison, just outside the perimeter fence.
Wilson is not allowed to leave the house unless accompanied by parole officers, cannot leave the Whanganui District and will be constantly monitored by GPS.
The Council’s lawyer Hayden Wilson argues the Parole Board and Corrections didn’t undertake sufficient analysis of other locations where Wilson could be housed once released from prison.
He says it was a “legally flawed process” and there are other locations which are more remote and other prisons which have more staff to deal with Wilson if something goes wrong.
But Justice Ronald Young says there are only limited possibilities for Wilson’s parole and the Whanganui option is sufficient in many ways.
“It’s difficult to establish a more restrictive regime without actually putting him in prison,” he says. “The level to protect the public is extraordinary.”
“Is there one shred of evidence that he can go somewhere else? There are no other conditions that anyone has suggested to make the Whanganui community more safe,” he says.
Whanganui was chosen by Corrections because it is one of few places where none of Wilson’s victims reside.
The special conditions are as follows:
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28/08/2012 3:58:58 p.m.
I rekn they should get him a tent from the warehouse and stop wasting tax payers money on the sicko. If he didnt want to be rehabillitated in jail what makes him think he can be released into the community without getting the help he neede while in jail. Yep my thorts exactly put him on White Island. Hes just a space waster. He better not be walking on the pedestrian crossing when i go away for trips.
28/08/2012 12:36:02 p.m.
I do not believe he can be integrated anywhere into a community in New Zealand. Given that he is NZ's worst sex offender I am surprised he is being released so soon. Another example of our lenient penalty system. Not only did he offend against people in the locality, he drugged and raped tourists passing through Picton whom he enticed into his home in Picton (whilst living with his wife, prior to the offences committed in Blenheim). These were women who were passing through the area and there may be many who have not brought charges against him. How do you monitor a situation like that with a GPS tracker? He could potentially be offending in his own home after picking up a tourist or hitchhiker. Believe me someone like him will attempt to beat the system!
27/08/2012 3:22:28 p.m.
I am not defending th eguy or anything, but I can't understand how we can impose conditions on a guy who has served his time for the crimes he did. Surely this reaches human rights? Are we not better than a third world dictatorship? Surely if a judge sentences someone to a period of jail and that time is served then isn't that the end of the sentence?
27/08/2012 1:05:18 p.m.
White Island sounds like the perfect place for him
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