Parole still years away for Ratima

By staff reporter

Mass murderer Raymond Ratima will spend at least the next two years in prison before parole is again considered for him.

Ratima was convicted of killing seven people in Masterton in 1992, including three of his own sons.

Although Ratima had not sought parole, the New Zealand Parole Board last month made an order that release would not be considered again until at least late 2014.

He had earlier had two three-year postponement orders made against him, the first in 2003 and the second in 2008.

Giving the board's finding, panel convener Marion Frater said although Ratima, 45, had not sought parole at the November 27 hearing, he had opposed a postponement order.

Mrs Frater said the parole board saw "real value" in a restorative justice process and that a meeting, or meetings, could help Ratima to cope with his emotions and perhaps build support for his eventual reintegration into society.

An informal restorative justice meeting, or muru, with victims was first mooted by the board in 2008 but has not happened.

Mrs Frater said Ratima was "obviously, and understandably, frustrated by the delays and apparent lack of support to enable that to happen".

Previously a whanau member had been willing to tell Ratima face to face of the trauma and great loss his actions had caused.

"When we met her this time she was more ambivalent.

"Time has not assuaged their grief and she is naturally reluctant to be seen to be doing anything to assist him," Mrs Frater said.

The victims' families strongly opposed Ratima being released and supported the maximum three-year postponement.

The Parole Board's report confirmed Ratima had in the past year successfully completed a three-month intensive Drug Treatment Unit programme. He was now at an undisclosed prison working in a trusted position as an administrative block cleaner.

The Parole Board report said Ratima was described as "quiet, polite and compliant".

Ratima had asked to be considered for driver's licence training and had been in contact with an organisation over a community-based rehab programme.

He accepted those things were some way off and that firstly he had to focus on working with a psychologist and getting the muru process started.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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