Parole declined after drugs used behind bars

Milton corrections facility. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Otago Corrections Facility. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A man who blackmailed a pensioner out of $40,000 has been using drugs while behind bars, the Parole Board has heard.

Andy Junior Halliday, 30, is serving a term of two years 11 months, after a string of dishonesty crimes in 2021 and 2022.

During a parole hearing last month at the Otago Corrections Facility in South Otago, the board heard the prisoner had recently racked up several misconducts.

Panel convener Martha Coleman said Halliday had used the illicit substances after they had been passed under his door.

"Mr Halliday said that he does not think about drugs when they are not in front of him but finds it very hard to say no when they are," she said.

Parole was declined.

"Mr Halliday needs to demonstrate that he can exercise the kind of restraint around his behaviour that would give us confidence that he can make a success of [a rehabilitative programme]," Ms Coleman said.

The inmate’s woes began when his victim — a Dunedin pensioner — began speaking to a woman calling herself "Audrey" on a dating website.

He gave her various sums of money with the promises of intimate contact but after two years of waiting, the victim began to pull away.

Halliday, Audrey’s boyfriend, intervened.

He began calling the victim, demanding money and threatened to reveal the online affair to the man’s wife if he refused.

Halliday’s threats were repeated and the payments rolled in.

At one stage he mentioned his brother was the boss of a prominent motorcycle gang and would steal the victim’s vehicle if he did not pay up.

The man finally called police after one particularly menacing message from Halliday.

"I just went to your house no-one answered the door? ... I want $1500 today no ifs or buts are to be given IV [sic] been given your number and address to sort this out once and for all."

Despite Halliday not completing the Drug Treatment Programme in prison, one rehabilitation outlet was prepared to take him.

"Their experience is that the longer someone is on the programme, the greater the success," Ms Coleman said, after the board heard from one of the course’s officials.

However, there were no beds available at present.

Halliday will see the Parole Board again in June. His sentence expires in May next year.