GPS device a 'second punishment'

Last updated 13:31 12/02/2014

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Convicted double killer Malcolm Alan Francis has unsuccessfully objected to wearing a GPS-tracker as part of his prison release conditions.

Francis is nearing the end of the 12-year manslaughter jail term he is serving for killing his partner, Wellington woman Wathanak Tea. He has always denied killing Ms Tea, originally from Cambodia, whose body has never been found.

Francis' challenges to some of his release conditions have been detailed in a report published today which records him querying through his lawyer the requirement to wear the location monitoring device, claiming he was being ''punished twice''.

Francis' release conditions were proposed at a February 3 Parole Board hearing chaired by Justice Warwick Gendall. Francis is set to be freed on March 15 and must comply with the conditions for six months after he exits prison.

He has a previous manslaughter conviction for killing one wife by bashing her to death with a frozen dog roll, and for maliciously wounding another. 

Ms Tea went missing at Christmas-time 2001. Police later found evidence of a violent struggle at her Johnsonville home. A bloody palm print matched Francis to the scene and in 2003 he was sentenced to serve a maximum 12-year jail term for her manslaughter.

He became eligible for parole in March 2010 but has since been denied multiple times. In 2011 his release bid was rejected after he claimed Ms Tea "did not die at all".

In May last year the Parole Board said it was satisfied that Francis still posed an undue risk to the safety of the community.

Francis' lawyer appeared on his behalf at his conditions hearing and presented a letter to the board in which Francis raised objections.

He opposed the requirement to wear a GPS-tracking device, though his lawyer, queried whether he was being ''punished twice''. The parole board disagreed, reasoning the device it would be used to monitor his whereabouts and protect him from any ''untrue claims'' he was not where he was supposed to be.

Francis was recorded in his latest parole assessment as saying he was not interested in assistance. He challenged psychologists' views, and continued to deny he killed Ms Tea. The report also noted he had not completed any intervention programmes.

Other release conditions include an order to get psychological, and drugs and alcohol assessments and complete any recommended treatment. 

He must reside at an approved address and is barred from contact with the family of his victims, as well as another person whose name was withheld in the report.

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Francis will be barred from licensed premises and possessing or consuming alcohol and drugs, and will not be allowed to travel outside the Greater Wellington region.

- The Dominion Post

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