Ratima denied parole

Last updated 10:42 14/12/2012
Raymond Ratima
STAYING IN JAIL: Raymond Ratima has been denied parole.

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Mass murderer Raymond Ratima, who was raised in Winton, has again been denied parole.

His next Parole Board hearing will be within two years.

The Parole Board decision, released today, says: ''As well as declining parole, we make a two year postponement order. This means that Mr Ratima will next be seen within two years of the date of this decision,''

Ratima was jailed for life for killing seven people, including three of his own children, in Masterton in 1992.

They were either stabbed or bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

Both families affected by the tragedy strongly opposed Ratima's release and supported the making of a postponement order for three years. Previously a representative of one family member had expressed a willingness to meet Ratima, if only to tell him face to face of the trauma and great loss that his actions have caused her whanau.

'' When we met her this time she was more ambivalent. Time has not assuaged their grief and she is naturally reluctant to be seen to be doing anything to assist him,'' the decision says.

''Her very understandable qualms underline the need, mentioned by an earlier Board, to ensure that before any type of restorative justice meeting takes place not only Mr Ratima is supported and prepared, but that the victims are also given appropriate support, both before and after the meeting, to deal with the multitude of emotions which will inevitably be raised.''

In the board's decision, following a hearing on November 27, the Parole Board says the 45-year-old Ratima has spent 20 years in custody and has completed the programme run in what used to be known as the Violence Prevention Unit.

He has participated in five years of intensive one-to-one counselling with a bicultural therapist and, during the past year, has successfully completed the three-month intensive Drug Treatment Unit Programme to address his long-standing abuse of substances, both in the community and in custody.

The Drug Treatment Unit says he gained tools and strategies so that he can now manage his feelings without using cannabis. ''And, indeed, this is demonstrated by the fact that he has remained drug free since attaining an IDU 7 status in early 2010. In the course of the DTU Programme he has also challenged and modified his previously held value and belief system,'' the decision says.

Ratima, currently living and working in a trusted position as an administration block cleaner in an un-named prison, is described as quiet, polite and compliant.

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The board recommends he be re-referred to a psychologist if there is any exacerbation of his trauma symptoms.

- The Southland Times

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