‘White supremacist’ to stay in prison for now

A warning two days ago:  Grandfather believes grandson may kill if released

“It’s merely a matter of time before he kills somebody.”

That’s the opinion of the grandfather of 22-year-old drug and alcohol addicted Frank Finch who was due to be released from custody this Friday.

His grandfather, Rod Finch, is pleading with agencies to deliver a secure release and rehabilitation plan which will keep both Finch, who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, and the public safe.

The call for urgency was further prompted by threats Finch allegedly made in prison, as well as a chilling two-page letter Finch’s grandfather says the young man sent to him after the Christchurch mosque attacks, in which he allegedly applauded the alleged gunman.

“He’s been on marijuana since he was about 10 years old, drinking and then harder drugs like P as he got older.” He was diagnosed with schizophrenia two years ago. “When he’s dry, he’s a loving, caring and highly intelligent young man, but nowadays it’s very rare to get him sober,” his grandfather said.

In 2015, Finch was imprisoned for three years on a raft of offences, including house burglaries, stealing electronics from Christchurch High Schools, and drive-off petrol thefts.

“You are 17 years old but you have the criminal history and actions of a much older man. You behave like a child. You have a lot of growing up to do,” the judge said at the time.

Last December, Finch was fresh out of prison when he was the passenger of a stolen car that crashed following a police pursuit. Finch was the sole survivor of the crash, which killed two others.

He is currently behind bars for breaching his court release conditions, but it was possible he’d be released at sentencing on Friday, a prospect which his grandfather feared.

For now Man described as dangerous white supremacist to remain in jail

Frank Finch, 22, will be imprisoned for crimes including theft and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, but the police have also laid an additional charge of threatening to kill, for which he appeared in the afternoon and will enter pleas on next month.

Citing psychiatric reports, Judge Anthony Couch said Finch clearly had no remorse and was likely to reoffend if released.

“The conclusion of the psychiatrist is that you lack motivation to make meaningful change in your life or to take any steps to avoid further offending. The psychiatrist also complains that you didn’t need extensive and long term support in a highly structured environment to gain the skills to even consider pursuing a viable life outside of prison,” he said.

Finch’s lawyer Allister Davis had asked for a sentence of intensive supervision, and speaking after the sentencing, he said the jail term was a missed opportunity.

“But that opportunity may arise again in the future. At the moment, we’ve got a young man with some pretty serious psychological problems and issues that’s in jail. I don’t believe that it’s helping him at all, but he’s done the crime has got to do the time I suppose,” he said.

At his second appearance this afternoon, Frank Finch was remanded in custody, and in three weeks he is expected to enter a plea.

It seems likely others will be pleading he  remains in prison and gets treatment. He seems to be obviously suffering from mental illness, but is also obviously potentially dangerous.

Fortunately there has been an overdue boost in funding for mental health treatment in this week’s budget, including:

Initiatives – Supporting mental health within the justice sector

Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court: Operational Support 2019/20

$0.7 million operating
This initiative funds the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court (AODT Court) so it will continue operating with dedicated police prosecutors, court co-ordinators and lawyer team leaders at the two pilot sites (Auckland and Waitakere) until it ends on 30 June 2020.

Increasing Access to Mental Health and Addiction Support

$124.4 million operating
$3.9 million capital

This initiative is part of the Budget package supporting the Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata – Safe and Effective Justice programme. This will improve the health, wellbeing and quality of life of vulnerable people in Corrections’ care by providing funding for mental health and addiction interventions.

This may or may not be enough or the right sort of help for people like Birch, but it is an attempt to address entrenched problems.

Leave a comment

4 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  1st June 2019

    Surely he is a case for compulsory commitment under a mental health regime.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  1st June 2019

      In a sane society, yes. But not in ours. He will come out. He will probably commit a very serious crime right under the noses of those who will be ”closely monitoring him.”
      We’ll then start another cycle of handwringing…we will ask how this could happen. Then it will be back to business as usual.

      Reply
    • phantom snowflake

       /  1st June 2019

      No, not necessarily. Though “He was diagnosed with schizophrenia two years ago,” if he has been assessed as being currently “mentally well” it would be difficult to get him detained in a Forensic Mental Health Unit. There are hints in the article that his mental health issues are related to drug abuse; if that is the case perhaps he is now mentally well due to having been remanded in custody with no access to his drug(s) of choice. Nevertheless, someone in his position will inevitably be subject to the Mental Health Act and be legally required to take prescribed medication.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  1st June 2019

        If someone is incurable. I would imagine that they could still be confined. If they are not mentally ill, they can’t be, this isn’t Stalin’s Russia where mental illness was an arbitrary definition.

        Reply

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