Board releases reasons for denying parole

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An Oamaru man in jail for manslaughter was denied parole last week due to his high security rating, conduct issues and a lack of a psychological assessment.

The reasons behind the Parole Board’s decision were released yesterday following a hearing for Daniel Ethan Smith, 20, on October 15.

The Parole Board decision, written by panel convenor Judge Mike Behrens QC, states Mr Smith has a high security rating with five misconducts, in high risk areas, since July 2011 but none of those this year.

The high risk areas in particular are conduct issues, negative attitudes towards authority and problem solving and the influence from negative peer associates.

“We think it essential that there be a psychological assessment as soon as possible and that the prison implements the recommendations that will come from that assessment,” the board stated in their decision.

“We note the sentence end date is January10, 2016, so there is not a lot of time for productive work to be done, hence our concern that the assessment be carried out as soon as possible.”

Mr Smith’s history from the Youth Court in 2008 has no other violent offending apart from what is described as a robbery by threats.

However, this was when he was much younger than when he committed the manslaughter offence.

He has done a focus programme which did help him acknowledge his offending and develop and maintain motivation and practice good social skills with others, the decision states.

Mr Smith completed the programme in the Youth Unit satisfactorily and was said to have contributed often.

He was too young in November 2011 to take part in what was seen to be an ideal programme for him, the Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme, but he is about to be reassessed for suitable programmes.

It is essential for Mr Smith to make positive efforts towards making better decisions and having positive relations with staff, the judge said.

He has been deemed suitable for a Short Gains Course and is able to take educational courses at any time in his sentence.

“Sadly Mr Smith after all this time essentially remains untreated.”

The board acknowledged that the victim’s family has been spoken to and do not see Mr Smith as being sorry for what he did.

Mr Smith was 16 when he fatally stabbed William Lewis, also aged 16, three times in the back during an altercation in Oamaru on April 1, 2010.

He was first sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 10 years before parole after first being convicted in 2011 of murder.

His conviction was overturned by the Appeal Court last year and Mr Smith was found guilty of manslaughter during a retrial at the Timaru High Court in July.

He was sentenced to five years and nine months’ imprisonment in August meaning he was eligible to apply for parole immediately.

Mr Smith will be seen again by the Parole Board in one year.