'Beast' fights limits on tenancy

BLAIR ENSOR AND TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2012

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The serial sex predator known as the Beast of Blenheim plans to use his rights as a tenant to fight a Parole Board decision forcing him to live on Whanganui Prison grounds.

Stewart Murray Wilson believes the Corrections Department - his landlord once he is freed from jail on September 1 - will be breaking the law by blocking his cellphone reception and not allowing visitors to use a road to his new home.

Wilson is allowed to use a cellphone - which must not be internet-capable - and can have male visitors aged 16 and over as part of his parole conditions.

However, a jamming system means there is no cellphone coverage on prison land, and Corrections has said no-one is allowed on the property without its approval.

His lawyer, Andrew McKenzie, said last night: "One of the requirements [of the Residential Tenancies Act] is that the landlord leaves [the tenant] alone.

"His landlord is essentially blocking his use of a cellphone as well as preventing people from using the road to visit him.

"He's denied his statutory right to quiet enjoyment of his tenancy due to the actions of the proposed landlord by blocking phones . . ."

The alleged breaches would form part of a High Court appeal against Wilson's strict parole conditions, Mr McKenzie said.

Wilson, 65, is set to be freed in two weeks' time after being jailed for 21 years in March 1996. He was convicted on 22 sex charges against women and children between 1971 and 1994.

Last week, Corrections said Wilson would be subject to what it believes are the most stringent conditions imposed on any prisoner upon being freed.

The 17 special conditions include one that will make him the first child-sex offender to be tracked by a global positioning system.

Mr McKenzie said Wilson opposed eight of the conditions, and believed they breached his rights to freedom of movement, freedom of association, and freedom of expression.

He was "really reluctant" to move to Whanganui. "He does not want to go there, they do not want him there. He's aware of the feeling and aggression from a lot of quarters. It seems to be a recipe for disaster."

Wanganui district councillor Michael Laws said last night that a "significant majority" of councillors was against Wilson's move to the area.

The council is to hold a special meeting tomorrow, at which the resource consent for Wilson's new home will be discussed. The two-bedroom former state house has yet to be moved to the site.

It has also emerged that Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia will be one of Wilson's neighbours.

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Mrs Turia, a former corrections minister, said locals had been treated poorly and were "extremely concerned about [Wilson] coming into our community".

"It's not about me . . . this issue is really about how all the residents of Whanganui feel about having somebody who's never ever admitted the wrong he's done . . ."

An appeal process against Wilson's strict conditions began on Friday in the High Court at Christchurch, where a judge directed the challenge could go ahead by way of judicial review. Papers setting out Wilson's claim were submitted to the court last night.

- The Dominion Post

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