8 Sep 2014

Nia Glassie's mother to be released

9:23 pm on 8 September 2014

The mother of murdered Rotorua girl Nia Glassie has been granted parole and will be released from prison in two weeks.

Lisa Michelle Kuka is serving a nine-year sentence for the manslaughter of the three-year-old in 2007. The toddler died died in Starship Hospital in August 2007 as a result of brain injuries.

Two brothers, Wiremu and Michael Curtis, were convicted of her murder.

In February, the Parole Board decided she could be released if she met certain criteria, including attending some social health programmes and having approved accommodation, but that decision was revoked when problems emerged about where she would live.

Information released under the Official Information Act earlier this year to Radio New Zealand shows it was because she lost her support network outside of prison.

Two months later, in April, the board noted Kuka had had some behavioural issues, possibly because they had revoked the decision.

It was noted that Kuka had had two misconducts and there was concern about what the board called her mood management.

In a decision released today, the Parole Board now says it is satisfied she has reached the stage where risk is no longer undue.

A support person for Kuka, who was not named, has said they would find plenty to occupy Kuka in a constructive way.

The board notes that "work is likely to be on a voluntary basis in the first instance but that, in itself, will prepare Kuka for return to the paid workforce in due course."

She will also try to reconnect with her whanau. The board says "the clear view is that matters need to be taken cautiously and that will be a step along the pathway once Kuka is well settled into the community."

Kuka will be subject to standard parole conditions but will also have 10 special conditions, include not having any contact with her children unless she gets approval and a ban on contacting or communicating with Nia's murderers or other people convicted after her death.

She will have to attend a special hearing in February 2015 so that her compliance with release conditions can be monitored.

The board says: "The special circumstances justifying that relate to the length of time which Kuka has spent in prison and the need for careful oversight in the early stages of her transition to the community."

Kuka is expected to be released on 22 September.