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Inmates' release dates wrong, says court

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/09/2016

The Supreme Court has found that the Corrections Department has erred in calculating the parole and release dates for two prisoners.

The decision, which relates to appeals by Michael Marino and Edward Booth, could affect other cases.

The court ruled that Corrections had misinterpreted the Parole Act 2002 and in some instances, including those of Marino and Booth, had miscalculated parole and release dates.

It said the correct interpretation of the act required all periods of detention to be taken into account from the time of arrest on any charge until an offender was sentenced.

Marino was first charged and remanded in custody in February 2015. He later faced further charges.

In July 2015, he pleaded guilty to all counts and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 22 months and 12 months.

The court said Corrections calculated Marino's pre-sentence detention on a charge-by-charge basis, giving a sentence expiry date of May 2016.

This meant he got no credit for the period in custody between February and June 2015, when the last charge was laid.

Marino applied for a writ of habeas corpus, saying he should have been released in January 2016, but was unsuccessful in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Booth, who was first remanded in custody in July 2012, is serving concurrent terms of 11 years and nine months, and eight years for offences against two different people.

The court said under Corrections' calculations, Booth would have to serve 12 years and seven months, rather than the sentence imposed.

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