Meth use on parole puts murderer back in jail

A convicted murderer is back behind bars after using methamphetamine while on parole.

Nicholas Michael Kawana (55) appeared in the Dunedin District Court by video-link yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to breaching his parole conditions.

The offence came a year after a similar breach when the defendant smoked cannabis.

Judge Jim Large yesterday sentenced Kawana to two months’ imprisonment but his jail term could be significantly longer.

The Parole Board will soon decide whether to recall him to continue serving his life sentence.

If it does, his release date and release conditions will then be determined at a parole hearing at a later point.

In November 2007, Kawana was jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years, after shooting his second cousin, Mark Waihape, in Nightcaps a year earlier.

He was first released in September 2018, after the Parole Board decided he did not pose an undue risk to the community.

Kawana — whose occupation is now listed as fisheries worker — was subject to a range of strict conditions, including a bar on possessing firearms, drugs and alcohol and a ban from entering the Southland region.

The cannabis breach last year resulted in a sentence of one month’s imprisonment.

The board opted not to recall Kawana and he was out within a couple of weeks.

This breach was more serious, Probation suggested.

On February 28, Kawana was ordered to undertake a random drug test.

A week later, analysis of the sample gave a positive reading for the class A drug methamphetamine.

Judge Large said he hoped it was the murderer’s last appearance before the court.

“You’ll just keep going back [to jail] if you keep breaching,” he said.

Kawana was found guilty of murder in a jury trial in the High Court at Invercargill.

At sentencing, Justice John Fogarty said the defendant had had an opportunity to show he was armed, rather than remain behind bushes from where he fired the fatal shot.

Kawana could have remained out of sight, simply shown the firearm or yelled out warnings, to challenge Mr Waihape, who would then have had an opportunity to back off, the judge said.

‘‘The fact you did not do that was telling and it was put to the jury that they would be safe in concluding that you had decided to kill and that was a murderous intent,’’ Justice Fogarty said.


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