Sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson will be better off in jail if his release conditions stay as the Parole Board imposed them, says his lawyer.
Wilson is arguing at the High Court in Wellington today to have the 17 strict release conditions relaxed.
Especially in question was the tracking of his movements by satellite.
Wilson's lawyer Andrew McKenzie said Wilson's offending largely took place in his home against women and children.
He would "groom" victims and then abuse their trust rather than abducting children off the street, he said.
Mr McKenzie said the house at Whanganui Prison, if that was where Wilson ended up, was not a place where he could bring potential victims.
"He's accepted those conditions."
Because the release conditions included not having women or children at his home, a lot of the risk against the public had been mitigated.
He said a number of the conditions therefore go too far.
Mr McKenzie questioned the condition of satellite tracking.
"If you've got two minders on either side of you wherever you go, why do you need GPS?"
He said Wilson was better off in jail.
"At least in jail you can talk to other people, walk around and play cards.
"He's effectively under house arrest and that goes too far."
If he breached his conditions, he was liable to be recalled to prison.
Mr McKenzie said there were special conditions that had to apply before GPS monitoring could be imposed, and those conditions did not exist.
''(GPS) is not to look into the future to see what he's up to.''
Mr McKenzie also argued that the restrictions on Wilson's travel, preventing him from moving outside Wanganui, were too severe.
He questioned why a victim living in Wellington who was assaulted in 1980 should be able to dictate that Wilson could not travel to the capital city.
Justice Young said Mr McKenzie was minimising Wilson's criminal actions.
Another condition was a ban on using the internet.
"The internet is a big part of society," Mr McKenzie said
Justice Young said Wilson never attempted to negotiate with the Parole Board on using the internet for banking or accessing other innocent websites.
"He had his chance to cooperate with the board...but he didn't, and this is now the consequence."
Justice Young said there were good reasons for the board to impose all the conditions and that was because Wilson was a high-risk offender.
Mr McKenzie said Wilson's landlord, the Department of Corrections, had no right to make his life more dire and isolating, in terms of restricting the type of cellphone he was allowed to have and blocking the internet.
He said that applied to any landlord to anyone else.
Mr McKenzie also said the rules had a consequence, which was Wilson's recall to jail.
Wilson was subjected to a weekly plan, which he could not deviate from.
"He has no option of saying, 'I don't want to play golf today'. He can't actually say I want to go to the library today to take some books out."
Mr McKenzie said the conditions were "onerous" and did not provide for reintegration into the community.
"This court should strike them down."
Wilson did not have freedom of movement because of his minders. If he wanted to go somewhere, that was subject to whether his minders wanted to go and if it had been planned in his weekly plan, Mr McKenzie said.
It would be less onerous if Wilson had freedom to go where he wanted to, so long as the minders were with him, he said.
"Some of these conditions are put there for the sake of it and put there because of the fear that they [minders] are not doing their job."
He said it has backfired because with the imposition of all the restrictions, it makes it look like Wilson was so dangerous it would be a risk to let him use innocent websites such as Trade Me.
'BEAST' DECISION TAINTED - COUNCIL
The Wanganui District Council says the approach by the Department of Corrections to recommend that sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson be placed in Wanganui after his release was "tainted''.
Two arguments are being heard at the High Court in Wellington today.
The Wanganui Council is opposing the Parole Board's decision to place Wilson in Wanganui after his release.
Wilson's lawyer, Andrew McKenzie will be arguing that the release conditions imposed by the Parole Board are excessive, especially the provision for satellite tracking.
Serial sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson, 65, was relocated from Rolleston Prison in Christchurch where he has been serving an 18-year sentence, to Whanganui Prison on Saturday before his release later this week.
Hayden Wilson, for the Council, said there were three options of places where Wilson could reside - Wanganui, New Plymouth and Hawke's Bay.
It was decided Wilson would live on the Whanganui Prison grounds, but outside the security fence.
Justice Ron Young said the attraction of the placement was because it provided a secure facility, was not in Wanganui itself, and was not too far away from amenities.
Hayden Wilson said because the case was relatively unique, the Corrections Department and the Parole had a responsibility to best ensure they had the best place possible for Wilson.
He said the Corrections Department first looked at where there were none of Wilson's victims.
"And having done that, they turned to `Where can we put him that minimises risk?'.''
Wilson said that way of thinking was flawed. They should have looked at prison grounds around the country first.
"The obvious alternative, that doesn't seem to have been considered, was Christchurch.''
He said that was where the only other two people to be put under tight release restrictions had been placed.
Justice Young told Wilson his argument would not work if all it was was that there must be somewhere else for Wilson to go.
"The alternative, presumably was for him to reside in the middle of Wanganui.''
Wilson said the Parole Board had to ensure the paramount safety of the community.
But Justice Young said his argument was "hollow".
Wilson said Corrections should have looked at the most appropriate location in terms of public safety before looking at the other considerations, such as where Wilson's victims lived.
Justice Young said Wilson had to go somewhere.
"Every community in New Zealand will probably feel the same as people from Wanganui."
Wilson said the department did not consider anywhere else.
He said they elevated the considerations of the victims above their paramount consideration, which should have been the safety of the public.
He said Christchurch was excluded because one of Wilson's victims lived in the area, but Christchurch Men's Prison would have been a safer option for the community, which should have been the department and the Parole Board's primary concern.
Justice Young asked whether the victim was part of the community.
"What is a community if not a collection of people, including the victim?"
He said a lot of effort had gone into ensuring the safety of the community.
Key: 'Beast has to be let out'
Prime Minister John Key says the Government is looking at a law change to continue to detain extreme offenders like serial sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson.
Mr Key said this morning on TVNZ's Breakfast he understood the reaction from the people of Wanganui over the release of Wilson but said a law change could see offenders like him further detained under a civil detention order.
"The law would mean in very, very extreme examples a case could be made that someone should be detained under a civil detention order - but we don't have that legislation yet; so he's got to come out'' Mr Key said.
"I understand the people of Wanganui would feel a degree of anxiety. What I would say is he has to be let out.
"He will have the most stringent bail conditions I've ever seen placed on anyone. He's effectively living on prison grounds with the GPS on him, with a huge amount of surveillance. If he breaks any condition he'll be back in prison,'' Mr Key said.
The Parole Board has said part of the reason Wilson was paroled to Wanganui was because it was one of the few cities with adequate resources, and where none of his victims lived.
Parole Board spokesperson Alistair Spierling told Radio New Zealand a Wellington-based panel is on standby should the High Court ask the board to reconsider the placement.
"... It is easy enough for us to have a panel on standby, it's just a matter of convening those members and conducting another hearing - if that is necessary," Mr Spierling told Morning Report.
"I have no idea what the High Court might do, the board will do whatever the High Court asks it to."
Mr Spierling said challenges to board decisions regularly come from offenders, however time this was the first judicial review on a decision by the current board that had come from someone other than an offender.
He said the safety of the offender was considered in every case, as well as the safety of the community.
Wilson's lawyer Andrew McKenzie has launched an urgent legal bid to ease Murray's strict release conditions, including satellite tracking.
That bid will also be heard at the High Court today.