Sensible Sentencing Trust Spokesman for the Otago/Southland region, Gil Elliott said he was appalled that Michael Swann is to be released from prison this month after serving half of his sentence for fraud. Swann defrauded the Southern DHB of just over $16 million much of which has not been accounted for, leaving the Southern DHB in a parlous financial situation with many patients missing out on urgently needed medical and surgical care.
The parole act and the parole board in its decisions and indeed the whole of the criminal justice system has nothing to do with fairness and justice as attested by the imminent and unjustified release of fraudster Michael Swann from Prison.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust says this man should serve his whole sentence of 9 years 6 months, not 4 years and 8 months for ripping off the tax payer to the tune of 16 million dollars, especially as most of the debt is still outstanding and Swann is totally uncooperative, indeed obstructive with regard to where the money has gone.
The Southern District Health Board like most other DHB’s certainly can ill afford to lose so much money that would have contributed significantly to health care in the region.
Swann should not be released until he has revealed where the 10 to 12 million not yet recovered is stashed. This ought to have been a condition of release at sentence.
The Parole Board emphasise that their main criteria for releasing a prisoner back in to society is that of ‘Public Safety’. How on earth this relates to Swann is quite obscure. It is quite wrong Elliott says to release a fraudster back into the community on this ground. It may or may not be appropriate to do so for a prisoner who has at least shown remorse and is cooperative, but definitely not for a fraudster regardless.
Swann before he was taken on by the Otago DHB as it was then known, had a previous history of fraud and yet was employed by the DHB despite this. This was even more annoying for the public when revealed.
Michael Swann is to be released at the end of this month to a friend’s house in Christchurch that according to the friend is an average house although valued at over one million dollars and with an indoor swimming pool.
Swann should be able to live a very comfortable life once he has recovered the stolen money – where is the justice in that for everyone else in New Zealand?
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Sensible Sentencing Trust