14 Feb 2013

Tame Iti granted release from prison

9:58 pm on 14 February 2013

Tuhoe elder Tame Iti, jailed following the Urewera raids case, has been granted release from prison by the Parole Board.

Iti has served a third of his two-and-a-half-year jail sentence for firearms charges and will be released on 27 February.

He appeared before the Parole Board on Thursday, where he was granted release with special conditions that have yet to be made public.

In its decision, the board said it was satisfied Iti no longer poses an undue risk to the safety of the community.

Tweeting via family members, Iti said it was a good day and he can't wait to be back with his whanau.

Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey were convicted following a trial in 2012.

The jury could not decide whether the so-called Te Urewera Four were part of a criminal group. Iti and Kemara were both jailed for two-and-a-half years, while Signer and Bailey were sentenced to home detention.

Tame Iti's family said on Thursday he was quietly optimistic about his chances of the Parole Board releasing him.

Wairere Iti attended the hearing and said the Probation Service presented a glowing report which said his father had an extremely positive impact on other prisoners and staff.

He said his father told the board that he wants to be able to make a difference to society when released.

Meanwhile, papers have been filed in the Supreme Court in a bid to have Iti's sentence and convictions quashed. An earlier appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.