A Napier lawyer jailed for stealing more than $500,000 from his clients has been granted parole.

Gerald George McKay, 76, was sentenced to four and a half years' imprisonment in 2016 after a jury found him guilty of five charges each of theft and dishonestly using documents for pecuniary advantage and an eleventh representative charge of criminal abuse of trust.

Formerly of the now-defunct McKay Hill law firm, he stole $566,900 from family trust funds and estates without his clients' authority between 2005 and 2010.

McKay appeared before the board in August last year and was denied parole; the board saying it was concerned about the man's acceptance of criminality which suggested some reintegration work may be required.


A parole assessment report said McKay could be demanding at times, sometimes treating staff like receptionists, and exhibited some sense of entitlement.

The board saw him again this month and concluded McKay had been able to demonstrate insight into the triggers of his offending while a psychologist said he had a very low risk of re-offending.

The psychologist acknowledged McKay's offending had occurred as a result of his occupation as a practising lawyer, which was no longer available to him.

"The case itself attracted significant media attention, and the report writer opined that people would be unlikely indeed to trust Mr McKay with money in the future," the report read.

He was granted parole and would be released from prison next month with "a robust release proposal" in place.

He would be subject to special conditions until his sentence end date in August, 2020.

Included in those conditions was to not be involved in the handling of money, provision of advice or management of financial accounts or transactions without prior written approval of a probation officer.