Parolee recalled after failing test for drugs

A convicted murderer tasted only four months of freedom after spending 12 years behind bars.

Nicholas Michael Kawana (54) was in November 2007 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 released in September last year, when the Parole Board decided he did not pose an undue risk to the community.

Kawana 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.

Four months after leaving prison he was drug-tested and the results came back positive for cannabis.

Kawana was recalled to prison on an interim basis and charged with breaching parole.

The board, however, decided not to make a final order for recall when it convened last week.

Kawana appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to the breach.

He had previously explained he failed the drug test because he had been in a car that was being hot-boxed by his associates.

Yesterday, he admitted he ''had a puff''.

Judge Michael Crosbie hoped the experience of returning to prison had been a ''wake-up call'' for Kawana.

''Parole for life is just that; you slip up at any stage and you can be recalled,'' he said.

The judge imposed a sentence of one month's imprisonment which meant Kawana would be released immediately.

A family member of Mr Waihape refused to comment when approached by the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

Kawana was convicted of murder after defending the charge at a jury trial before the High Court at Invercargill.

Justice John Fogarty said the defendant had had an opportunity to show that 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.

For nearly five years, Kawana must abide by parole conditions. -

  • To attend counselling as directed.
  • To live at an approved address and comply with tenancy rules.
  • To inform Probation about changes in employment.
  • Not to contact family of victim.
  • Not to possess alcohol or drugs.
  • Not to go to Southland.
  • Not to possess firearms.

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