17 Dec 2014

Corrections admits error in Opunake killing

6:39 am on 17 December 2014

The Corrections Department did not appropriately manage the high risk of an offender who fatally stabbed an Opunake father while on probation, it has said.

Shiloh Dallas Mareikura, 34, was yesterday sentenced in the New Plymouth High Court to life in jail with a 15 year non-parole period for the murder of Desroe Bishop.

Mareikura was convicted of assaulting and threatening to kill Mr Bishop in December 2008, and was released from prison in April last year, with a condition to not enter Opunake.

But Corrections allowed Mareikura to attend a tangi there in September, when he committed the murder after an argument with the victim over drugs.

Corrections Lower North regional commissioner, Paul Tomlinson, said the decision to allow him to go to Opunake was closely linked to meeting his culture needs.

"However, the decision did not appropriately manage Mr Mareikura's high risk and high likelihood of re-offending," he said.

"Further consideration of this information could have lead to the request being declined."

Mr Tomlinson said a special investigation into the management of Mareikura was carried out.

Mareikura was forced to increase his reports to Corrections after a probation officer assessed that his risk was increasing due to using illicit drugs, a negative change in his behaviour and his failure to report to his family violence provider, Mr Tomlinson said.

"Corrections staff and management have met with Mr Bishop's family to express their condolences and outline their management of this offender."

He said Corrections staff plan to have meetings with the family over the coming months.

Mr Bishop's father, Rex, said he has heard from Corrections, and the death of his son should not have happened.

"What can we do about it? We're just people. We can't think for the authorities."

He said his son's death has been rough on everyone, and an apology from Corrections would not change what happened.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs