A hearing in the High Court in Wellington early next week will determine the future of the ''Beast of Blenheim'', Stewart Murray Wilson, days ahead of his scheduled release from prison.
The Wanganui District Council is joining the action to try to prevent 65-year-old Wilson being released into monitored accommodation near Whanganui Prison next week as planned.
Wilson is challenging the conditions the Parole Board plans to impose on him at the end of his long prison term imposed in 1996 for sex offences committed against women and girls over a long period.
Defence counsel Andrew McKenzie says Wilson believes the board has gone too far and does not have powers to make such a long list of conditions, including not using a vehicle.
Wilson is seeking a High Court judicial review of the board's decision, with the action called before Justice Williams in Christchurch's courthouse today.
Justice Williams decided it would need to be heard early next week if possible, in the High Court in Wellington, when he was told that Wilson was due for final release on Wednesday next week.
He has given the defence until the end of tomorrow to file its evidence, and then the respondents - the chief executive of the Corrections Department and the Parole Board - until noon on Friday to file their replies.
A lawyer for the Wanganui District Council was in court with a watching brief. He told the judge the council would file its action in Wellington tomorrow.
It wants Wilson to be placed elsewhere after his release, and Hawke's Bay and New Plymouth have been suggested as possible alternative release sites for a sex offender who remains in prison at Christchurch. Whanganui was chosen because none of Wilson's victims live in the area.
Justice Williams said the council would need to file its case as well as its evidence at the same time tomorrow if it wanted to be included in the proceedings. It was sensible to have all the legal actions heard at the same time.
McKenzie has warned that if there is any move to keep Wilson in prison past his release date, while the issues are sorted, there will be a writ of habeas corpus filed, which relates to a person's unlawful detention. This triggers an almost immediate hearing in the High Court that would overtake any other planned hearing.
Outside the hearing, McKenzie said the release had triggered a reaction of "hysteria or beastaria".
Wilson just wanted to get out of jail and live out the rest of his life, he said.
It might be possible to do that if the release was done with "less fanfare and less attention".
It is not clear whether local bodies in New Plymouth and Hawke's Bay may seek to have a say in the issues in case Wilson is transferred there for release.
After his release he will be under parole conditions for about three years, and then under a 10-year extended supervision order because of the continuing risk he is assessed as posing.
The Parole Board's conditions include not leaving the Whanganui district, not associating with anyone under 16 unless an approved adult over 20 years was present, not having any female at his address, having no contact with his victims, completing a reintegration programme, attending sessions with a department psychologist to develop a safety plan, not engaging in any employment without approval, not possessing any electronic device capable of accessing the internet, not joining any clubs, groups, associations or churches unless approved, not placing any advertisements in any publications or responding to any such advertisement by another person, not owning or driving a vehicle, not possessing or consuming alcohol or illicit drugs, and not attending any addiction support groups.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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