27 May 2024

Prisoner reintegration trust link to murderer Joseph Brider revealed

8:49 pm on 27 May 2024

The Supreme Court said there was little indication that Pathway had done anything wrong. Photo:

The Supreme Court has ruled a charity which helps reintegrate prisoners into society can be named in connection with convicted murderer and rapist Joseph Brider.

Brider brutally killed Juliana Bonilla-Herrera in her Christchurch home in January 2022, just nine weeks after he was paroled from prison on a rape conviction.

It can now be reported that he lived next door to Bonilla-Herrera in a flat owned by Pathway Trust, which had also been working with Brider for five months before his release from Christchurch Men's Prison.

Bonilla-Herrera was not aware of his prior offending.

Pathway Trust had obtained an order from the High Court preventing its name from being published due to "undue hardship if named in connection with the murder".

"It submitted that the negative publicity would cause reputational damage and reduce its capacity to perform its purposes, which is dependent on the receipt of donations," the Supreme Court ruling said.

However, the Supreme Court found there was a "legitimate public interest" in Pathway's involvement with Brider being made known.

"The court accepted that decisions about Brider's accommodation, his release conditions and public notification ultimately rested with the Department of Corrections and the Parole Board," the ruling said.

It said there was little indication that Pathway had done anything wrong.

Pathway remained deeply shocked and saddened by the death of Bonilla-Herrera, its reintegration spokesperson Anaru Baynes said.

"More than two years on, our deepest sympathies and condolences remain with her family and friends," he said.

Pathway's work in Christchurch Men's Prison focused on preparing prisoners to re-enter the community, and once there, provided support designed to lessen the chance of reoffending and help them to rebuild their lives, Baynes said.

"Joseph Brider betrayed Pathway's values, everyone who was involved in his rehabilitation and the community, by committing a deplorable crime."

While he chose not to "make a genuine fresh start", there were many others who benefited from the practical support Pathway offered to "reverse the cycle of reoffending", he said.

The Parole Board previously claimed that Corrections had supplied incorrect information while it was deciding upon Brider's release conditions, but an independent review in 2023 found this was not true.

That review, however, did find that the information supplied had "ambiguities".

Corrections and the Parole Board said at the time they would "strengthen information-sharing processes".

"The Parole Board chair and I agree that Corrections' current guidance to our frontline staff could be clearer on what information is shared with the Parole Board in high-risk cases, to ensure different release proposals can be fully explored before deciding to grant someone parole," Corrections chief executive Jeremy Lightfoot said.

Following a separate independent review, Corrections also changed its community notification policy in 2023 to include adult sex offenders.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs