The Parole Board's decision to release convicted killer Paul Wilson was a reasonable one, despite him going on to kill again, an independent review has concluded.
Paul Russell Wilson, aka Paul Pounamu Tainui, 55, was today jailed at the High Court in Christchurch for life with a minimum non-parole period of 28 years for murdering Nicole Marie Tuxford, 27, in Christchurch last year while on life parole – 24 years after he killed former girlfriend Kimberly Schroder in Hokitika.
The shocking case prompted the Parole Board to commission an independent review of its involvement with Wilson who was released on parole in 2011 — after being denied an early release four times previously.
Both the Tuxford and Schroder families have slammed the decision to allow Wilson back into the community.
The review was carried out by Devon Polaschek, a distinguished forensic clinical psychologist, professor of psychology, and joint director of the New Zealand Institute of Security and Crime Science, University of Waikato.
In findings released today, Polaschek concluded that the decision to grant Wilson parole was "a reasonable one".
Offenders whose convictions include a single, relationship-related homicide, but who have little criminal history otherwise, pose some challenges for decision-makers, she noted.
"It is well understood in the international research literature that those who murder a current or former intimate partner with few or no previous convictions for other types of offending are very unlikely to be reconvicted in a similar way, or at all," said Polaschek, a former Fulbright scholar.
New Zealand data going back to 1972 found that the likelihood of a person convicted of a homicide being convicted of a second homicide following parole was in the region of 0.4 per cent. There could be no cases found where both victims were women.
At Wilson's first appearance before it, the Parole Board was attentive in evaluating him, his progress to that point, and what steps might be necessary if his case was to meet that threshold for parole, Polaschek said.
Polaschek also concluded, "there are no clear lessons for the board to learn from this tragedy".
"Even today, an expert would not forecast further violent offending either toward women or men, based on the information known to the board," she said.
"The only other area that today might receive more explicit attention would be the degree to which his family or whānau were engaged in supporting and monitoring him after release."
Parole Board chairman Sir Ron Young has met with both the Tuxford and Schroder families and pledged to "do all we can to avoid another tragedy like this in future".
Currently, the board's ability to monitor the progress of a life parolee ends one year after release.
Today, Young said that a longer window could act as "a useful ongoing oversight" of an offender.
"The board would be open to an extension of its ability to monitor, if Parliament sees fit.
"There would need to be some flexibility on this, to enable for tailoring to individual cases. Each case is different, and there is no specific number of years for which a person on life parole could or should have their progress in the community monitored by the board.
"In every decision it makes, the board's paramount consideration is public safety, and I am committed to doing everything I can to uphold that."