13 Nov 2008

Parole hearings for mass murderer to be postponed

3:53 pm on 13 November 2008

The Parole Board has decided to postpone further parole hearings for a convicted mass murderer for up to three years.

Raymond Ratima was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering seven family members in Masterton in 1992, including his pregnant sister-in-law and his three sons.

He was denied parole in June this year after the Parole Board found he had been using drugs in prison.

In September, the decision on whether to postpone further parole hearings for Ratima was delayed so he could consult a lawyer.

On Wednesday, the Parole Board said it was now satisfied that, in the absence of a significant change in his circumstances, Ratima would not be suitable for release from prison when it saw him next year or in 2010.

The board said the tragedy that was inflicted at Ratima's hands shocked the nation and was of a magnitude unique in New Zealand's history.

It said Ratima was receiving some therapeutic intervention and was doing some courses in prison, but he was in fact filling in time and that was unlikely to change.

Ratima will not be eligible for parole again until November 2011.