A person like Glenn Green presents a particular challenge to the justice system. So extensive is his list of convictions and so strong is the likelihood that he will reoffend that it seems axiomatic he should remain jailed until there is compelling evidence he is no longer a threat to society. Yet Green, described by the police as "New Zealand's most dangerous stalker", will be released from prison next month. This despite the Corrections Department's view that "on any measure, the risks relating to Mr Green's release are high. He poses a significant threat to public safety."
The problem associated with Green is indicated by the 201 convictions he has accumulated in a period spanning 26 years. In that time, he has been jailed 45 times. But the laws he breaks are not sufficiently serious to prompt a sentence that would keep him incarcerated for a long spell. In the main, he is guilty of harassment, intimidation, threats, misuse of the telephone and breaching protection orders. For the victims, these are serious. One young woman said that she believed she was "living in a nightmare" and another said that she became "a prisoner in her own home". In the most recent instance, Green was sentenced to 30 months in 2012 for two counts of criminal harassment, offending that began just three weeks after he was released from prison in 2011.
The Parole Board, recognising the high risk that Green will reoffend, denied him parole in October 2012. Now, it has been advised that material found in his cell indicates he is already "planning" his next victim. But the board has no choice but to release him. All it can do is try to mitigate the risk by imposing conditions for the six months after that occurs. These are wide-ranging, including a 9pm curfew and a ban on Green going north of Onehunga or east of SH1. He has also been ordered not to have any electronic devices capable of accessing the internet or capturing or storing images, and not to have any surveillance devices. Green will also be tracked using electronic GPS monitoring.
There is little to suggest, however, that these conditions will be effective. Green has not had psychological treatment during his latest term of imprisonment. But in any event that would probably have been to no avail, as was his completion previously of a Special Treatment Unit Programme. Green, who uses several aliases, shows no genuine remorse for his actions and has been diagnosed as a psychopath. More specifically, he is said to suffer from erotomania, a condition that makes him believe someone, usually a stranger or high-profile person, is in love with him. Electronic monitoring will show where he is but will not say anything about what he is doing or on whom he is fixated .
In such circumstances, it is tempting to think there should be legislation that means he remains imprisoned indefinitely, as is the case with preventive detention for recidivist violent or sexual offenders. But he is an extreme case, and it is always wrong to enact a law for just one person. There is a strong likelihood that, subsequently, it will ensnare others whose activities are far less serious. Instead, the conditions imposed by the Parole Board must be allowed to run their course. Given Green's record, he is likely to breach one of these soon enough, just as Stewart Murray Wilson, the so-called Beast of Blenheim, last year broke one of his release conditions. By no means is that a totally satisfactory state of affairs. But it is one that a fair justice system must live with.