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Alexander backs accountability on parole decisions

Monday, 17 May, 2004

Alexander backs accountability on parole decisions

If the Crown loses the $550,000 murder-related damages lawsuit being taken against it by the widower of one of the three people slain in the 2001 Panmure RSA killings, then it might finally start to take its parole obligations seriously, United Future's Marc Alexander today.

"Tai Hobson wants accountability first and foremost from a justice system that has never been held accountable for its failings," Mr Alexander said, who today attended the High Court case at Auckland. Mr Hobson is claiming $550,000 in general and exemplary damages over the death of his wife, Mary, 47. The Crown is seeking to have the case struck out. Mrs Hobson, Wayne Johnson and Bill Absolum were killed by William Bell during the robbery.

Another victim, Susan Couch, survived being beaten with a shotgun and left for dead in a pool of blood. Bell was on parole at the time, having been released from prison part-way through a five-year sentence for aggravated robbery, under what Mr Hobson cites as grossly inadequate circumstances.

Mr Alexander has consistently campaigned for tougher parole conditions and pushed for real accountability in his book, Justice With Both Eyes Open, launched earlier this month. "Three people died and another woman had her life destroyed because the Parole Board failed spectacularly to get it right - yet again," Mr Alexander said.

ENDS

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