The Letele case

The Herald reports:

The Corrections Department has agreed to take another look at whether a woman who is dying in prison should be released early.

, 35, is eight months into a sentence of three years and two months for fraud.

She has terminal cancer and is expected to live for five months. The mother-of-three wants to spend her remaining time with her family.

The Board has decided that Letele does not meet the exceptional circumstances test for early release.

But Collins revealed this afternoon that the Corrections Department would reconsider its position.

Until now, the department has opposed early compassionate release and has told the board that she is being adequately cared for in prison.

“Corrections chief executive Ray Smith has spoken to me today on this matter and advised me that he’s asked the chief doctor at Corrections to review the decision,” Collins said.

“It’s ultimately a decision for the parole board but obviously Corrections makes recommendations. So they’re reviewing [if] Corrections can properly look after the prisoner.”

So what is Letele in prison for? An earlier report:

A former mortgage broker has been convicted of fraud in the Auckland District Court over a scheme where she sold properties to low income families for a profit, using forged documents to allow them to obtain home loans.

Vicky Ravana Letele, a former director of Focus Property Investment, was found guilty on 10 charges under section 228 of the Crimes Act for dishonestly using a document.

Letele was facing 11 charges relating to 11 property transactions undertaken during the second half of 2010 with a total value of $3.9 million.

A former mortgage broker has been convicted of fraud in the Auckland District Court over a scheme where she sold properties to low income families for a profit, using forged documents to allow them to obtain home loans.

Vicky Ravana Letele, a former director of Focus Property Investment, was found guilty on 10 charges under section 228 of the Crimes Act for dishonestly using a document.

Letele was facing 11 charges relating to 11 property transactions undertaken during the second half of 2010 with a total value of $3.9 million.

The finance was then used to purchase properties from interests related to Letele and Kumar, who profited from the transaction.

The SFO said the case was one where inexperience had been exploited.

“Vulnerable investors are often targeted by those who are aware of their inexperience in dealing with significant financial transactions,” SFO director Julie Read said.

So the fraud was not insignificant, hence why she is in prison.

Now I agree that not releasing someone until they are a few days away from death is overly harsh, especially as she has children. So a review is good.

But I would caution on the “five months to live” as accepted fact. Even if a doctor does give such a specific prognosis, they can be wildly wrong.

I recall the case of the Lockerbie bomber allowed to return to Libya on compassionate grounds to die from terminal prostate cancer. It was said he had three months to live. In fact he lived for 33 months.

 

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