Only a week after the man who killed her daughter was sentenced to jail, Ellen Crown opened a letter revealing he would soon be eligible for release.
Jordan Lee Hyde was sentenced on October 4 to four years and eight months' jail for the manslaughter of 28-year-old Lower Hutt woman Stacey Reweti.
Speeding in a station wagon in February last year, Hyde - who was on a restricted licence, off his medication for schizophrenia and had been drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis - smashed head-on into Reweti's vehicle near Paekakariki, killing her instantly.
Because of medical issues and his mental health problems, the case took longer than usual to conclude and he remained in custody during this time.
After the sentencing, Reweti's family believed they could forget about Hyde, but a week later received a letter from the Parole Board saying he was eligible for a hearing after serving a third of his sentence.
Speaking to The Dominion Post, Crown said she was furious after learning she would have to write a submission for the hearing.
The family had a tradition of gathering together every weekend and it had been a hot topic after the letter arrived.
"To get that news, the whole lot of us on Sunday, we were just so bloody angry . . . I've been ripped off [of] a daughter so I don't expect him to get out."
She did not believe Hyde had received an adequate sentence for what had happened, and news of the hearing emphasised this, she said.
"I was pissed off, to be honest. I thought he was looking at possibly 6 years, but I misunderstood, obviously."
A Parole Board spokeswoman said an offender legally had to be seen after serving a third of their sentence, unless a judge set a longer minimum no-parole period.
Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said it was time to abolish parole so situations like this did not happen.
"It would be gutting for them, it makes a mockery of the word justice." Having a set date that an offender would be released would provide a sense of security for victims, he said.
"It's no wonder New Zealanders are losing faith in the justice system and in particular the parole system when you see this kind of debacle happening."
But Rethinking Crime and Punishment spokesman Kim Workman said while the timing of this hearing was unfortunate, parole was designed to reduce offending and rehabilitate prisoners.
Research suggested those who were released on parole on conditions were less likely to reoffend, so abolishing parole would be detrimental.
"Some make great progress in short amounts of time in prison, there's no point in keeping them there for the full length of their sentence, so it's about the ability to exercise judicial discretion."
- © Fairfax NZ News