Beast's judicial review thrown out
Mon, 27 Aug 2012 3:38p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
The judge overseeing a judicial review for Stewart Murray Wilson’s stringent parole conditions has dismissed both cases.
Justice Ronald Young has thrown out both the Whanganui District Council’s case against Wilson, Parole Board and Corrections, and the second being Wilson’s case against the Parole Board and Corrections.
He has recommended that Wilson’s lawyer, Andrew Mackenzie, request an urgent Parole Board hearing tomorrow to sort out issues regarding the reintegration programme.
Outside court, Mr Mackenzie told reporters that despite the dismissal he saw the judge’s ruling as a victory.
“It’s reassuring in one sense that the judge was able to at least make some direction to some integration.
“The condition to be followed by two people wherever you want to go is the most restrictive condition so winning on that point is a victory,” he says.
Judge: Corrections’ reintegration plan ‘very concerning, onerous’
This afternoon Justice Young questioned Corrections lawyers about plans for Wilson’s 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 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’
Mr Mackenzie claims 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.
Justice Young heard from the Whanganui District Council’s lawyers this morning, who argue the conditions imposed on Wilson 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 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 safer,” 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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1/09/2012 1:20:08 p.m.
I can't figure out how anybody winds up in the situation Stewart Wilson finds himself in. Like most males, I've got a few desires that, if I ever followed them would land me in jail for years. It could be running a slow driver off the road, punching out an obnoxious neighbor or eyeing up a friend's teenage daughter. We all have temptations that we know are wrong, we shouldn't do them and we will get in trouble if we do. Considering what has already happened to this guy, you would think he would realize it's time to put a lid on what are obviously some pretty unusual desires. Does he have no self control?
28/08/2012 8:13:20 a.m.
This would not be an issue in China
27/08/2012 6:33:08 p.m.
yip this guy should not be released. but who are we as people to say where he should live.Too the Whanganui council i say hard luck, get use to the corrections dept not consulting with you and the general public, we in South Auckland no exactly how it feels,(re; the building of the new prison). Maybe we should drive everybody out of town we dont agree with. And pass the problem on to another town , i think not.
27/08/2012 4:50:40 p.m.
This man will not only re-offend, but the justice system who let him out, will inevitably pass the buck onto others like whanganui district council. For not giving him a chance even though there priority is to look after their citizens. And also the media for more hype than needed. And finally the public for being sceptical at best of someone who has not only denied any wrong-doing, but given time will do the same. the law needs to look at life for these guys even taking it
27/08/2012 4:35:31 p.m.
Toni Hutchings wrote:
This is crap!!!!! full stop. how can anyone let someone like him release him back into the public. If he has been assessed and he is a high risk to the public then whats the point of him being released from prison. He more likely to re-offend than most criminals that are released. He shouldn't be released in the first place.
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