Gareth Lawrence Smither, who murdered his ex-girlfriend in
Dunedin almost 16 years ago, has been having some limited
unescorted ground leave, a New Zealand Parole Board decision
The 41-year-old would not be released on parole, as he posed
an ''undue risk to the safety of the community'', the board
noted at a parole hearing last week.
Smither used a spade and a kitchen knife to kill Karen Jacobs
in Dunedin in July 1997.
The board noted Smither, who is living at an undisclosed
location, has an extensive mental health history.
''The pathway for his rehabilitation was through extensive
treatment, and he had much to do before parole could even be
considered,'' the board noted after it first saw him more
than a year ago.
Since that first hearing, he had undergone extensive
psychological counselling and treatment and participated in
an intervention programme concerning violent offending.
''He has had some limited unescorted ground leave and the
clinical team do not propose that he graduate at present to
It was recommended Smither continue to engage in one-to-one
psychological counselling to address ''stalking behaviour
While his counsel advocated his release on parole, the board
decided ''this is out of the question and he does not meet
the statutory test that he would not pose an undue risk to
the safety of the community''.
The board observed he was making progress, but ''much more is
Despite a request from his victims that Smither be subjected
to a postponement order, the board, after careful
consideration, decided to exercise its discretion and would
monitor his progress on an annual basis.