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Errors Acknowledged In Bell Case

Errors Acknowledged In Bell Case

Acting Corrections Minister Margaret Wilson today acknowledged there had been mistakes in the way in that William Bell’s parole was managed.

“Immediately after his arrest for the RSA murders in December 2001 the Community Probation Service reviewed Bell’s file and identified a number of errors and omissions in the management of his sentence.

“While there is no evidence that these errors would have changed the horrendous events that followed I deeply regret that some mistakes were made in the management of Bell’s case.”

Ms Wilson said she believed that there had been significant changes to Department of Corrections procedures in the office concerned.

“A review of the Mangere office, conducted late last year, shows that since changes were implemented, systems had significantly improved. In many instances case management was exemplary. I am therefore confident that the chances of such a case re-occurring have been minimised.”

Other changes made since Bell’s parole in 2001 included the implementation of a national Offender Warning System (OWS). This allows better identification and more intensive monitoring of parolees at high risk of re-offending, Ms Wilson said.

“An internal audit by the Department in April last year shows that implementing this new OWS system has led to an improvement in the management of the sentences of high-risk offenders.

“The reports released today should reassure the public that the Department has significantly improved its systems as a result of this case.

“I intend to ensure that the victims’ families get copies of these reports, along with my deepest sympathies.”

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