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Parole Board to be commended for putting community first

Parole Board to be commended for putting community safety first

The Sensible Sentencing Trust Wellington branch would like to congratulate the Parole Board for recent decisions that have put the safety of law-abiding Kiwi’s at the forefront of decision-making on prisoner release. The decisions are positive steps that send a strong message to serious criminals that parole is not a right and that any risk of re-offending will be taken seriously. It assists in steering the criminal justice system back in a direction that will see it working for those who obey the law rather than the criminals who break it.

Recent decisions denying parole to be commended include:

Robin Pitney – Convicted of murdering 11 year old Leif Wulff 20 years ago. He has been released and recalled twice and his behaviour has since ‘regressed’.

Phillip Kaukasi – One of the six people convicted for the murder of Michael Choy in 2001 and now 10 years into a 12 year sentence.

Whatarangi Rawiri – One of the six people convicted for the murder of Michael Choy in 2001.

Alexander Peihopa - One of the six people convicted for the murder of Michael Choy in 2001.

Raymond Ratima – Convicted of the mass murder of his own family members (including his three children) in 1993 and sentenced to life in prison. He is said to be ‘several’ years away from being ready for release from prison.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust continues to advocate for the abolition of parole but while it remains in existence appreciate it being used cautiously and only in cases where offenders can be proven to not pose a risk of re-offending. Too often criminals released on parole have gone on to commit abhorrent crimes. Remember Graham Burton’s rampage through the Eastern Hills of Lower Hutt? Yip he was on parole. Remember William Bell, the RSA triple murderer? Yip he was on parole.

Tragically it is too late for many victims of crimes committed by offenders released on parole. Ordinary New Zealander’s must continue to demand that the failed experiment of parole is abolished altogether and their right to be protected from criminals restored by having them serve the full-length of their sentence. Until this law change the parole board needs to take responsibility for their decisions and by realising the extreme magnitude of their previous mistakes hopefully their recent decisions putting community safety first will continue. Their responsibility is first and foremost to protect the law-abiding public, and this fact must not be treated lightly.

And while we are talking parole spare a thought for the families and friends of victims who are put through the wringer and forced to relive the crimes committed against them or their families every time a parole hearing comes up. If they don’t want the offender released they are required to put in submissions against parole every time and in some cases to even appear in person. Yip – that is our justice system putting the rights of the victim last. Imagine being put through that every 6 or 12 months.

New Zealand once was, and can be again, one of the safest countries in the world if we have the will and determination to stand up against crime and refuse to accept it as a part of our lives. We all have a right to be safe within our own homes, streets, and communities. We will continue to fight for that right and advocate for a tough stance to be taken against those who would have those rights taken away from us.


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