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Wednesday 09 November 2016

Corrections consider advocating for dying prisoner

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 7th November 2016

Corrections will soon make a decision whether to advocate for the early release of a terminally ill prisoner, whose family are fighting for her early release to spend her final months at home.

Ex Kiwi Ferns player Vicki Letele, who has a female partner and three young children, is currently serving a three year, two month sentence for fraud and has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The New Zealand Herald reports that she was convicted of using a document to enable low income families to get home loans and received a financial benefit from this.

The 35-year-old is eight months into her sentence but has only been given five months to live, she is up for parole in April next year.

Her brother, Dave Letele says after complaining of being sick for seven weeks and begging the prison to send her to hospital, she was finally taken to Middlemore Hospital where she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Her family have been seeking her early release however the Parole Board had initially decided that she does not meet the exceptional circumstances for an early release, saying that when she was at a point where she required hospice care, compassionate release would be appropriate.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins says Department of Corrections chief executive Ray Smith has confirmed to her that he is expecting a report by Thursday which will outline whether the department is able to look after Letele and whether an application to the Parole Board for compassionate release should be made by them.

A petition has been set up calling for her early release.

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