10 Jul 2008

Victim critical of Parole Board processes

1:05 pm on 10 July 2008

The victim of a pack rape in Mt Maunganui believes a court ruling turning down her challenge over the release of one of her attackers, means it will be a waste of time going to the future parole hearings.

The woman, whose name is suppressed, asked the High Court last month to review the Parole Board's decision to release convicted rapist, Peter McNamara

He was released from jail in January after serving a third of his seven-year sentence for the 1989 attack.

The High Court found the Board was correct to focus on McNamara's risk of reoffending.

In the decision released on Wednesday, Justice France said statutory changes made in 2002 mean the board can no longer consider matters such as general deterrence when deciding whether to release an offender.

He also criticised some aspects of the victim's case, including the proposition that a convicted person should be penalised for exercising their appeal rights.

The victim says if the board knows before a parole hearing that there is no risk of reoffending, the victim is wasting their time in contributing to the process.

Neither McNamara nor his lawyer would comment on the High Court decision.

Nikki Pender, the lawyer who took the legal challenge, on Wednesday called for a law change to remove sentencing anomalies.

Ms Pender says Justice France acknowledged that McNamara benefitted from law changes between the time of his offending and his sentencing in 2005.

She hopes that changes being contemplated will stop that happening in future.