Risk fears on Palmerston baby-shaker Tamaoho Nuku

By Timothy Brown

Tamaoho Nuku was arrested in May 2015. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Tamaoho Nuku was arrested in May 2015. Photo / Otago Daily Times

A Palmerston man who shook his infant child so hard she suffered permanent brain damage will be released from prison in a matter of months despite fears about the risk he poses to the public.

Tamaoho Nuku was jailed for two years and three months last July for violently shaking his 2-month-old daughter because her crying interrupted him playing video games.

The child suffered bleeding in her brain and eyes, seizures and developmental delays.

Nuku was arrested in May 2015 after the child was rushed to Dunedin Hospital with life-threatening injuries including multiple limb fractures.

Because he spent more than a year in jail on remand, he will be released on August 19 - little more than a year after he was sentenced for the crimes.

Nuku appeared before the Parole Board on April 27, where it was heard he presented a more than 60 per cent chance of being rejailed for further violent offending. It is understood he has shown few signs of rehabilitation.

"To date on this sentence Mr Nuku has completed no substantive intervention," the board's decision said.

Despite his risk of reoffending, he was yet to see a psychologist behind bars. "We are concerned with his risk. He has a record of serious violence and the two offences for which he is now imprisoned raise significant risk issues in their own right.

"We are of the view that urgent intervention is needed having regard to his statutory release date.

"Accordingly, we support Mr Nuku's reference to the psychologist for assessment and treatment with a view to him leaving prison with a safety plan," the Parole Board said.

The decision revealed Nuku had a criminal history of about 50 convictions spanning 15 years.

The board has called Nuku before it again on July 30.

- Otago Daily Times

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