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Praise for the Parole Board

  • September 11th, 2008

I thought I’d offer a heading you thought you’d never see from me.

A decision delivered on 1 September by Judge Carruthers deserves praise. The special significance of the decision for me I’ll explain below.

First – the Board’s reasoning includes:

"There is a rather negative Psychological Assessment before us. The Assessment indicates that whilst Mr Marsh should, as recommended, attend this programme, the Board needs also to consider whether “it may be a more humane and realistic outcome to allow Mr Marsh to accept that he is very unlikely to be ready for release until he [is] made frail with age"…
We are giving Mr Marsh notice that when he is next to be seen, a Postponement Order will also be considered. Under the Parole Act, he has to have notice that this will happen, because he has the right to make submissions about it…
In that way the Board keeps its’ powder dry if no advances are made …. Mr Marsh may be one of those rare persons of whom nothing much can be done and for whom the safety of the community must be regarded as paramount in terms of Section 7 so that they remain in prison for a considerable length of time."
In other words – ‘get ready to be told we are not going to let you out. We would tell you that now if it wasn’t for the procedural need to warn you first so you can get a lawyer to argue it with us’.
This is a welcome change from the tone of the Board’s decision two years ago which complimented Marsh on his "good progress with bicultural therapy".
And the special significance for me?
This was a decision on an application by William Rufus Junior Marsh, mutiple killer, and one of the first clients I ever put my earnest soul into helping. As a very junior graduate I helped Warwick Flaus, my senior by one year, prepare the defence for Marsh on some minor assault. On conviction I prepared the plea in mitigation. I remember calling his former school principal for a reference and being disappointed by his lukewarm response.
Several months later Marsh helped kick an old man to death in Hopper Street.
He was among the reasons I decided not to go back to court work when I returned from my OE. I respect the need for court lawyers, but with only one life I’d rather use it up applying my heart and soul and skill and experience for and with people who do not routinely lie and steal from and deliberately hurt defenceless people.
Marsh came back to remind me of that early misguided enthusiasm, years later when he murdered a young woman in her flat a couple of hundred yards from my home. She’d gone home from work with the flu when he found her in bed. He’d been employed to help shift her furniture and may have come back just to burgle.
He has killed at least two times known to the law .
Pity the Parole Board can’t simply say the common sense thing to Marsh – "Don’t call us, we’ll call you, and you’ll likely die waiting".


  • John Doe
  • June 22nd, 2009
  • 3:34 am

Have you Had any close contact at all over the past 5 or 6 years with Rufus Marsh? Well I have. They way you speak of him is the way he was yes I agree, but over the past 5 or 6 years he and his life has changed.I could go on forever trying to convince you of his changes and his remorse for what he has done in his past. But I know it would be of little use as I can plainly see that all you want is for him to rot in prison for the rest of his life. Well I have just this to say Our Father the Lord Jesus Christ is a forgiving Lord, and only he can truely judge us. Unless We can forgive others, how can we ourselves be expected to be forgiven. I don’t condone what Rufus Has done in his past nor do I agree with what he has done, but I can forgive him. It has been 20 odd years since he was imprisoned for which a life sentence of todays terms is 12-14 years. Since Rufus Marsh has been imprisoned there have been other people who have commited murders, rapes violence etc and some of them have already been released back out into the communities. So why does the media and people like you want so desperately to keep Rufus rotting in prison for the rest of his life?

  • Finally
  • March 10th, 2010
  • 11:36 pm

In response to Mr John Doe, it is fitting that the final chapter in Marsh's life was written in prison on January 5th 2010.  As the killer of an immediate family member of mine, the bare minimum I would ever have wanted for him was to die in prison, irrespective of any remorse he may now be showing.  Perhaps if he had shown some compassion in the early years of his life he would not have succeeded in ruining the lives of so many others.  So why did we want to keep him rotting in prison for the rest of his life?  So he couldn't do to others what  he did to us.

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