Crean killer denied parole

By Alecia Rousseau

File picture of Christopher Crean, shot in front of his wife and young family on his doorstep, Resolution Place, New Plymouth.
File picture of Christopher Crean, shot in front of his wife and young family on his doorstep, Resolution Place, New Plymouth.

A man who took part in a gang style execution has been denied parole.

Denis Luke went before the parole board early this month but was declined release.

Luke was found guilty of murdering Christopher Crean in 1996, alongside three other Black Power members.

Luke was on life parole at the time, having committed another murder 21 years earlier.

In its decision, the board states that although Luke has held a minimum security classification since April 2012 he was still not ready for release.

It states the area in which he hoped to be released to was unknown to Luke, and despite his whanau pledging their support the board must "be extremely cautious in any parole decisions".

The report reads, "Given that, good behaviour in custody, while important, cannot, by itself, be taken as evidence of reduction in risk. That can only be established by ongoing testing across time and situation."

Luke is currently residing in a self-care unit and keeps himself "constructively" busy.

His health is deteriorating and because of this he is not seeking to engage in the Work to Release programme. However he does wish to have home leaves and hopes to build outside support.

The report states Luke is not posing any problems while in custody and is lucky to have whanau willing to help.

His family had constructed a release plan for the board which proposed releasing Luke to his brother's address. Luke's counsel submitted that given his past reintegration efforts and strong community support, he should be released with strict conditions.

At the hearing, his whanau said Luke was a different man from the one who committed the killings and had shown wisdom. They also claimed he had cut ties with the Black Power gang.

The report also states the spokesperson tried to broker reconciliation with an unnamed family as they whakapapa to the same marae.

A spokesman for the family of Mr Crean said they were overjoyed by the decision.

Luke will appear before the board again in 2018. He has currently served more than 20 years.

- NZ Herald

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