NZ's longest serving prisoner denied parole
STACEY KIRK & DEIDRE MUSSEN
New Zealand's longest serving prisoner has been refused parole again, but he could be allowed supervised outings on "humanitarian grounds".
A decision released by the parole board today says Alfred Vincent, 74, appeared before the board in May but did not seek release.
Vincent was sentenced to preventive detention in September 1964 at the age of 30, after he was convicted on seven charges of performing indecencies on five teenage boys.
It was noted in previous Parole Board decisions that by Vincent's own admission to a prison psychologist, he has abused more than 100 children.
While his risk of re-offending is still considered high, he may be granted permission to leave prison grounds on occasion while accompanied.
Vincent has tried, and failed, the Kia Marama programme for child sex offenders four times.
Although according to the report Vincent was not seeking release at his hearing in May, the board deemed it unlikely he would be able to make the progress needed for release to even be considered within the next three years.
Vincent has been denied parole more than 30 times since he first became eligible in 1975, and his next parole hearing won't come back around until 2015.
"Notwithstanding that we have made the postponement order, we would hope that this does not mean that all avenues for temporary releases by Mr Vincent are closed. We see a utility, on humanitarian grounds at least, for him to be given the opportunity to participate in suitably escorted outings from time to time," the board said.
The board has said in the past that, despite "considerable input" over the years, Vincent has been unable to recognise the risk he poses, let alone manage that risk.
Vincent's lawyer, who has represent him for more than 10 years, has conceded the longer Vincent spends in prison now, the less likely it is he will ever be released.
Vincent was 30 years old when he was sentenced to preventive detention in September 1968 for seven charges of indecently assaulting five Christchurch boys aged 12-14 years and had been denied parole ever since he became eligible in 1975.
He had three previous sentences for six charges of performing indecencies on boys aged 8-15 years, including two jail stints lasting two and a half years in the mid-1960s.
The only time he had been been allowed out of jail was in the early 1980s, when the prison granted him daytime work parole and occassional weekend leave to stay with his father.
That was revoked in 1984 after he was seen putting his arm around a teenage boy in a park while on weekend leave.
Vincent appeared in front of the board in May, when it was asked to consider a new release proposal for him to live in Salvation Army accommodation in Christchurch.
The board adjourned its decision until a parole hearing last Friday but said today his release proposal was not viable.
''Any accommodation available through the Salvation Army is necessarily of a short term nature. Given Mr Vincent's age and his consistently assessed high risk of reoffending, it would be inadequate to safely manage his risk.''
However, the board said it hoped he would be given ''suitably escorted outings'' on humanitarian grounds.
In May, The Press spoke to Vincent's surviving victims from his 1968 charges.
Three of the men, now in their late 50s, said they would agree to Vincent's release as long as he was always supervised if out in the community and never had access to children, while a fourth wanted him to remain in jail. His fifth victim died many years ago of cancer.
Vincent, who has a glass eye and wears two hearing aids, had previously claimed he had sexually abused hundreds of boys since starting offending in 1952, the year he left school aged 15 years.
He has spent most of the past 44 years in Christchurch's Rolleston Prison, in its Totara Unit and holds a minimum security classification.
- © Fairfax NZ News