A “very high risk” gang member with a history of violent and sexual offending is on the run after cutting off his ankle bracelet.
Leslie Peter Ross, 52, has spent most of his adult life in prison. His lengthy criminal history includes kidnapping, rape and wounding with intent to injure.
He recently told a Department of Corrections psychologist he had also been involved in a “significant degree” of undetected crimes, including gang-related violence and coercive sex with intimate partners.
“She assessed him as having a very high risk of committing a relevant violent offence and a high risk of committing a further relevant sexual offence,” according to a recently-released High Court judgment.
The court was hearing an application from the Department of Corrections to impose an Interim Supervision Order (ISO) on Ross, to keep him under a probation officer’s management until a court date in January to consider an Extended Supervision Order (ESO).
An ESO can be imposed for up to 10 years to keep the highest-risk violent or sexual offenders under supervision.
Ross was on prison release conditions which included electronic monitoring when he cut off his ankle bracelet and absconded on September 29.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
This meant the hearing for the ISO application in the High Court at Rotorua went ahead in his absence on November 6.
“Mr Ross has chosen not to be present and has absconded from his release conditions. I am satisfied that in those circumstances I am able to make an ISO, notwithstanding that Mr Ross was not present at the hearing,” Justice Neil Campbell said.
Justice Campbell said that based on the psychologist’s report, Ross’ criminal history and his self-reported undetected offending, he was “provisionally satisfied that Mr Ross has had a pervasive pattern of serious sexual and violent offending”.
This persuaded him to make the ISO.
The conditions to be imposed on Ross, when he is located, include electronic monitoring, not to use alcohol or non-prescription drugs, and to tell a probation officer of any intimate relationship.
He is also barred from entering the Waikato District and from associating with any Black Power members.
Ric Stevens spent many years working for the former New Zealand Press Association news agency, including as a political reporter at Parliament, before holding senior positions at various daily newspapers. He joined NZME’s Open Justice team in 2022 and is based in Hawke’s Bay. His writing in the crime and justice sphere is informed by four years of front-line experience as a probation officer.
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