28 Feb 2019

Risk of reoffending for inmate held indefinitely remains high - court

8:37 pm on 28 February 2019

A man held in prison indefinitely until he can prove he is no longer a threat to the community has had his appeal quashed.

Inside Paremoremo Prison

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Stead Nuku was sentenced to preventive detention in maximum security prison, Paremoremo, after he stabbed two prisoners with a shank on two separate occasions.

In a Court of Appeal decision released today, Nuku said the preventive detention was unwarranted, and his reoffending risk on release into the community was not high enough to warrant preventive detention.

But the court of appeal found that Nuku's risk of serious violent reoffending remains high if he is released.

The decision outlined that there had been a pattern to Nuku's violent offending.

"He says he does not go looking for trouble but he responds violently when challenged and then 'I go for maximum damage'," Justice Miller said.

"He says he finds it necessary to behave in this way in the maximum-security environment in which he is detained."

Nuku has 68 previous convictions for violent offending or disobedience to court orders or release conditions, but his most serious offences have been committed in prison.

His lawyer Anoushka Bloem argued that his reoffending risk is highest while he is in prison, and in the community his risk is much lower.

"She emphasised that he has some family support and capacity to form relationships, which may serve as protective factors and submitted that his violent offending, while grossly excessive, is a response to what he perceives as provocation."

The Court of Appeal disagreed, saying that Nuku's risk of serious violent reoffending when his sentence expires in 2025 will remain high.

"Mr Nuku himself seems determined to make the points that he sees no need to change his ways and imprisonment is no deterrent for him."