Can one volunteer to be on the jury?

November 7th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Serial sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson has made an 11th-hour decision to elect trial by jury over accusations he breached prison release conditions, promoting allegations he is “abusing” the court process.

He wants a trial by jury? I don’t think they’ll have a problem finding people to go on that jury.

The 66-year-old appeared in the Whanganui District Court this morning when he was going to defend two charges brought by the Department of Corrections.

Almost worth moving to Whanganui just so you can qualify to sit :-)

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Wilson planned to flee to Australia

April 11th, 2013 at 9:59 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Evidence included a statement from the woman alleging Wilson had indicated he would flee New Zealand to escape his parole conditions.

“She also [said] that in their previous telephone conversations Mr Wilson talked about how he wanted to take her to Australia, how he always had $1000 in his back pocket and how it was easy for him to break his bracelet off and run away,” the decision said.

Not even Australia deserves Wilson.

Stewart Murray Wilson was recalled to prison on an interim basis on February 21, pending yesterday’s parole hearing. He has now been recalled indefinitely.

Good. I said when he was released that it would only be a matter of time before he broke his conditions. In prison, there will be no more victims.

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That didn’t take long

February 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Radio NZ reports:

High-profile convicted sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson has been recalled to jail following allegations he phoned someone he had been directed not to associate with.

The Department of Corrections successfully applied to the Parole Board on Thursday afternoon for an interim recall of Wilson to prison.

The 66-year-old served 16 years in jail for multiple rapes of women, assault, drugging, ill-treating children and bestiality, which he denies.

The Parole Board will consider whether or not a final order is made to keep Wilson in prison at a hearing before the end of March.

I said at the time that I thought it was just a matter of time before he broke his conditions.

If the person he contacted is a former victim, then I suspect that will be more than reason enough to put him back inside.

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It’s all the fault of Corrections, not the Beast!

September 8th, 2012 at 3:47 pm by David Farrar

Roger Brooking blogs at Pundit:

 The media have told us that Murray Wilson refused to attend a rehabilitation programme while in prison. In fact, the Corrections Department refused to let him attend.

Sounds shocking, but why?

For many years Wilson was held in Rolleston Prison, a low-security prison with a sex offenders unit – just what Wilson needed. But Corrections refused to put him into this programme because he wouldn’t acknowledge his guilt. That’s very strange considering the entry criteria for this programme state that “denial or other cognitive distortions related to offending behaviour” are an indication of suitability for the programme.

There are different degrees of denial. As I understand it, the programme is not designed for someone who has been convicted of five different rapes, and maintains he was not guilty of all of them.

If Wilson had any remorse at all, he would have been allowed on the programme. But he thinks he is the victim. not the women he raped.

Unfortunately, Corrections was not able to establish a rapport with Wilson. He refused to even meet with the psychologist who wrote the final risk assessment on him, so she prepared her report from information on his file. Why would Wilson not want to meet with her? Probably because she had written a number of previous reports which were highly critical of him. Clearly there was not a lot of trust between Wilson and this particular psychologist.

Oh poor little Stewart. The nasty mean psychologist said some stuff he didn’t like. And in the views of Brooking, this is the fault of Corrections and he should be able to demand a new psychologist until he gets one who says what he wants to hear.

The most pathetic part of this farce is that Corrections claims it cannot compel offenders to attend rehabilitation programmes. That makes no sense at all. The police have the power to arrest criminals; the court has the power to send them to prison; but Corrections claims that once in prison they can’t compel anyone do a programme. 

Umm, what is Brooking suggesting. That they enter his cell, subdue him, handcuff him, march him to the programme room, and then restrain him to a chair, so he has to take part? Has he not considered an unwilling Wilson would disrupt it for everyone else?

Unfortunately, Corrections never gave Wilson a chance. They seemed to think he had to have the necessary insight and motivation right from the start. 

No, they said he has to have *some* insight or remorse. He appears to have none. To the contrary he thinks he is the victim, and his sense of victimhood is not doubt fuelled by what Brooking writes.

Victoria University Professor, Tony Ward, a clinical psychologist with expertise in sexual offenders has described Wanganui’s reaction as “moral panic” and said that given Mr Wilson’s age, he was unlikely to reoffend.

”The reoffending rate for very high risk people over 60 is about 6%.”

Is that an offer of a spare room I hear? I mean why worry about a 6% chance of rape or sexual molestation? Never mind that is also a generalised statistic.

This is all so familiar. Graeme Burton committed two murders under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Corrections had him in their custody for 14 years and never put him into a programme to address the core issue – his drug addiction. 

So Corrections is also to blame for Graeme Burton. Not once is his entrie blog post does Brooking even touch on teh concept of any individual responsibility resting with the killers or rapists.

As it happens I think more alcohol and drug rehabilitation is a good thing. And as it happens the Government has increased funding for this very significantly.

But let us not fool ourselves. Some criminals can be rehabilitated. Some will go straight if they kick drugs or alcohol. But many will not. They are quite simply nasty self-centered people who have no empathy for others, and choose to inflict pain and misery on others, so long as they get their jollies.

Blaming Corrections for the evil of Wilson and Burton is distasteful, and as I said I find it appalling that not once did Brooking concede any individual culpability at all.

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Wilson’s conditions

August 12th, 2012 at 12:19 pm by David Farrar

Adam Dunning writes in the SST:

The conditions of Wilson’s imminent release to a purpose-built house in the grounds of Whanganui Prison are extraordinarily stringent for a couple of reasons. The first, official, reason is that without them this unrepentant serial rapist would be all but guaranteed to find new victims to terrify and abuse.

The second – which the Parole Board is unlikely to admit to out loud – is that with so many conditions to meet, Wilson is bound to breach one of them, and sooner rather than later.

Some of Wilson’s 17 release conditions seem bizarre, but each has a sinister subtext. The ban on attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and church groups? That’s because it was at such gatherings that he trawled for vulnerable women he could take home and subjugate. The ban on placing or responding to classified advertisements? That’s how he found another victim. The more general bans on contact with females or anyone under the age of 16 speak for themselves.

But even if Wilson can resist seeking out alcohol, drugs, internet access, women, children, churches, classified ads, 12-step meetings, employment or a car, he is also obliged to attend sessions with a psychologist for the purpose of developing a safety plan, and to “abide by the rules” of a reintegration programme.

Basically it is inevitable he will break one or more of her conditions of release.

Giving a dangerous sex offender enough rope is a sloppy, scary way to keep the community safe, but in this case there are few alternatives. 

Yeah, and hopefully no one will be harmed in the process.

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The Beast appeals

August 9th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I heard on the radio the Beast of Blenheim is appealing against his supervision terms. Here’s what he wanted and what he got, from Stuff:

 The man known as the Beast of Blenheim wanted to travel around New Zealand in a campervan after being freed from prison on September 1.

Can you imagine anything less appropriate. I hope “Over our dead body” is an allowable response from Corrections.

However, the board has imposed 17 special conditions on his release, including one that will make him the first child sex offender to be tracked by a global positioning system (GPS) on parole.

He will be forced to live in a $70,000 relocated state house on Whanganui Prison property, which is yet to be moved. Resource consent for the two-bedroom house is expected to be ready in time for his release.

Whanganui was chosen because it is one of only a few towns in New Zealand where Wilson would not be close to any of his victims.

You do have to feel sorry for the locals. It is like the reverse of winning Lotto. At least he is very recognisable, so kids and women can be warned about him. Hopefully any farm animals will kick him in the nads if he tries anything with them.

“We think the decision to locate him here on prison grounds almost 10km from the perimeter of the nearest population base, it just kind of made sense.”

Best of a bad situation. I suspect he will break his conditions early on, and at least he’ll be close to the prison where he may hopefully then spend the rest of his days in.

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What does extended supervision mean?

July 13th, 2012 at 2:58 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The high risk sex offender dubbed ‘The Beast of Blenheim’, Stewart Murray Wilson, will stay under extended supervision for the maximum 10 years after his prison sentence ends and his parole term expires.

The order was imposed by Justice Graham Lang in a written decision issued in the High Court at Christchurch today, a week after he heard a day of legal argument.

He described Wilson as presenting “a rare and special case” and said: “He will remain at risk of offending against young females well beyond the expiry of his release conditions.

“An extended supervision order is therefore necessary, in my view, to achieve the statutory objective of protecting such persons from the risk of further offending in the future by Mr Wilson.”

Does anyone know exactly what extended supervision involves? How often can he be checked up on?

In 1995, a jury found Wilson guilty on seven charges of rape, one charge of attempted rape, two charges of ill-treatment of children, one charge of bestiality, one charge of attempting to stupefy and two of stupefying, three of assault on a woman, and six of indecent assault.

Many of the charges were laid as representative charges, indicating the offences had been committed more than once.

Wilson was jailed for 21 years in 1996 and has remained in custody even though he became eligible for parole some time ago because the Parole Board considers he presents a high risk of re-offending.

In hindsight 21 years was not enough.

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The Editor on the Beast of Blenheim

April 18th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

This is fairly unusual. An opinion column from an editor, which is not an editorial. That is because it is a personal reflection on the Beast of Blenheim by Dominion Post editor Bernadette Courtney, who covered his trial as a junior reporter.

Bernadette writes:

Parole Board members say Wilson is “likely to commit a specified sexual offence” and remains “threatening and intimidating”. Now his imminent release has become a test case, with Justice Minister Judith Collins trying to rush through new legislation to keep the Beast of Blenheim in prison indefinitely.

I back this legislation. Stewart Murray Wilson must never be released.

Why. We read on:

In 1995, I was a Dominion reporter assigned to cover Wilson’s case. Over a year I attended court hearings, spent time with his many victims, visited Wilson in prison twice and got to know his in-laws. …

During his depositions hearing, Wilson tried to pass me notes. I felt so uncomfortable that I moved seats.

The three-week hearings in Blenheim were gruelling. The court heard testimony after testimony, some from victims behind screens barely audible, they were so beaten, ashamed and destroyed. Others were so angry.

I have covered many horrific stories in my almost 30-year career as a journalist here and in Britain, but none that has affected me as much. It sounds silly but I couldn’t touch whitebait for a few years because it constantly reminded me of Wilson, a whitebaiter.

In pre-social media and internet days, my colleagues back at the office were often speechless as I recounted down the phone the details of each day’s court hearing. 

And these are people used to reporting on crime.

I have seen up close the damage this sick man has done to his own family and the many victims who were scattered across the country and wider; he picked up two young Danish hitchhikers and raped them. Both had to be flown back to New Zealand for the trial.

The women I interviewed were broken. Some had had mental breakdowns, one had become a drug addict, one was a bag of bones.

Wilson has shown no remorse, no appetite to seek proper help while in prison and still, authorities believe, is a danger.

My brush with Wilson was brief. I’m no expert on the mind of a monster. But every time Wilson comes up for parole anger stirs inside me. There will be those who argue that he has served his time and should be released.

The Government is looking at how to keep him behind bars. Ms Collins has got it right. Wilson’s crimes were so abhorrent that we should support the move.

The proposed civil detention orders are a necessary evil. I’d rather we didn’t need them, but we do. Allowing Wilson out with the near certainty he will rape or abuse is just not an option.

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