Violent gang member released from prison after police investigation dropped
A violent gang member accused of drug dealing and assault in prison, has been released, with police deciding they were unable to pursue an investigation.
Joseph Pritchard was released in June after he completed his full jail sentence of nine years.
Pritchard, 45, had committed offending so violent that he had originally been sentenced to preventive detention. He appealed this and it was reduced to a finite sentence.
He was going to be released on parole in March but this was revoked after he tested positive for methamphetamine. He had also allegedly been involved in a serious assault on another inmate. He denied both allegations.
Police investigated, but on Thursday detective senior sergeant Marty James said they had not been able to progress them and they were no longer being pursued.
Pritchard was released on June 13 with a number of conditions, including a curfew, for six months. He is not allowed to enter gang premises in that period.
Pritchard is a long-standing member of the Mongrel Mob with a lengthy history of violent offending. A recent psychologist's report assessed him at a high risk of reoffending.
In 2009 Pritchard and a fellow senior gang member Patrick Edmonds were sentenced to preventive detention - essentially a life-long sentence that sees the offender locked up until they are considered safe - for causing grievous bodily harm to a drunk man who had visited the Mongrel Mob gang pad in Hastings in June the previous year.
Pritchard, who had 20 previous convictions for violent offending and had been jailed ten times previously, kicked and beat the victim on the ground.
In sentencing Pritchard, Justice Ron Young said he was likely to commit another serious violent offence and a finite sentence would not adequately protect the public against the risk. So he imposed a sentence of preventive detention with a minimum period of imprisonment of five years.
It was the first time a sentence of preventive detention had been handed down for violent offending. It was usually used for sex offenders.
But Pritchard successfully appealed the sentence and the Court of Appeal reduced it to a sentence of nine years' imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of six years.
He spent more than a year in custody on remand before being sentenced.