Macdonald lacking 'moral principles'

Ewen Macdonald
Ewen Macdonald
Ewen Macdonald lacks some ''moral principles'' and his ''calculated and malicious'' past makes him too much of a risk of reoffending, a Parole Board report says.

The board has today released its report on Macdonald's appeal for freedom this week, detailing its ''concerns'' following the Feilding farmer's unsuccessful bid on Tuesday.

In the report, Justice Warwick Gendall says Macdonald has been described as a ''model prisoner'' but he still sees psychological treatment as unnecessary except to appease the public.

Macdonald became eligible for parole this month after serving a third of his five-year prison term for arson, vandalism and killing deer and calves on a neighbouring farm.

Justice Gendall said while Macdonald admitted to his offending and said in his submissions that he was ''ashamed and disgusted with himself'', he still tries to ''diminish his responsibility and pass it on or share that with his much younger co-offender.

''Whilst he has shown signs of reform and said he was committed to leading a law-abiding life, more often he described his actions as 'stupid' rather than wrong,'' Justice Gendall said.

''He showed a limited grasp of, and identified a limited range of moral principles that would guide his behaviour in the future.

''He ... demonstrated little insight into the underlying causes of his offending.

''He presented with a narrow emotional range and repeated his wish to look ahead rather than to the past, which raises questions in the board's mind about how seriously he views his offending and its impact.''

Justice Gendall said there was ''considerable concern'' about Macdonald's pattern of offending, which was ''planned and repeated over a period in excess of two years; calculated and malicious, destructive, hidden through actions and lies, and denied.

''He gained satisfaction from and put effort into inflicting harm on those who he perceived had offended him, and over a lengthy period took steps to avoid discovery,'' Justice Gendall said.

A psychological report described Macdonald as displaying ''narcissistic traits''.

A psychometric personality test revealed ''a marked tendency to portray himself as having socially desirable qualities'' and ''can be self-involved and overvalue his self worth''.

Macdonald also had ''an over-controlled personality that relies excessively on denial and repression to cope with and avoid anger'', the report says.

Justice Gendall said the board was not satisfied Macdonald would not pose an undue risk to the community ''or any person in it with whom he should feel umbrage''.

Macdonald will be required to undertake one-to-one psychological counselling and be subjected to a full forensic psychiatric assessment before his next bid for parole, which will be at least 11 months away.

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