A teenage killer convicted of the vicious 2005 slaying of three people has become only the third person slapped with a parole release ban by Queensland’s independently-run parole board.
Parole Board Queensland (PBQ) President Michael Byrne KC recently ordered that John Brian Woodman be banned from applying for parole for at least eight years – until 23 December 2030 – despite having already served more than 15 years in custody.
Woodman is serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of two 17-year-old boys, a 30-year-old man and the rape of a 19-year-old mum at a North Toowoomba apartment, 130km west of Brisbane, on 31 May 2005.
Woodman was 16 at the time and became the first youth offender to be named as a result of changes to the provisions of Queensland’s Juvenile Justice Act 1992, due to the heinous nature of his crimes.
A court had been told that Woodman and a friend, 17-year-old Scott Geoffrey Maygar – considered an adult offender under Queensland law at time, committed one of the most violent rampages perpetrated by such young assailants.
At the time Woodman was handed life imprisonment, the sentencing judge deemed the offences so heinous it was appropriate his name be published, despite the fact he was considered a juvenile under the law.
Wood had been eligible to apply for parole after serving 15 years of his life sentence and submitted an application to PBQ on 24 February 2022.
However, the application was refused by PBQ on 22 December (2022) – with Mr Byrne ordering no further application would be considered before 23 December 2030.
Woodman now joins Gregory Andrew Brownsey and Alan William Craig, also both child killers, as the only prisoners to be deemed by PBQ as dangerous and their crimes too heinous for them to be considered for parole, despite having already served lengthy prison terms.
Woodman also holds the dubious title of becoming the first youth offender captured by the laws introduced more than a year ago.
In September 2021 the Queensland Government introduced what it called the “toughest parole laws in the nation” for prisoners serving life sentences for “heinous crimes”.
The legislation, included in the Police Powers and Responsibilities and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021, was the result of community outrage over an application to PBQ by convicted child killer Barrie Watts for release in November 2020.
His bid for freedom resulted in a petition with more than 70,000 signatures calling on the Government to keep Watts behind bars.
Watts, now 68, has spent 35 years in prison for the abduction, rape and murder of 12-year-old Sunshine Coast girl Sian Kingi on 27 November 1987.
The laws, which received royal assent from the Queensland Governor on 3 December 2021, bestow the sole responsibility of deciding whether convicted child killers should receive parole bans of up to 10 years to the PBQ President.
While Barrie Watts was granted a parole hearing prior to the laws being enacted, PBQ Deputy President Peter Shields on 14 October 2021 rejected the request for conditional release into the community.
Mr Shields said: “(PBQ) is not satisfied the risk (Watts) poses to the community can be sufficiently mitigated at this time by way of imposing any conditions that the Board is entitled to impose.
“The Board considers there to be an unacceptable risk to the community if (Watts) is released on a parole order.”
Since the introduction of the new laws, PBQ President Michael Byrne KC has himself signed orders to extend the parole bans for all three convicted child killers.
In Woodman’s case, Mr Byrne’s order says: “I have made the declaration because of the nature, seriousness and circumstances of the offence for which the prisoner was sentenced to life imprisonment; of the risk the prisoner may pose to the public if … granted parole; and, of the likely effect that the prisoner’s release … may have on an eligible person or a victim.
“This declaration is specified to take effect on 23 December 2022 and will end on 23 December 2030. (Woodman) you may not apply for parole … for the duration of this declaration.”
PBQ, in a statement obtained by QLS Proctor, said in accordance with section 175D of the Corrective Services Act 2006 Woodman was classified as a Restricted Prisoner.
“Section 175E of the Corrective Services Act 2006 allows that the President of the Parole Board Queensland may make a declaration under the division about a restricted prisoner,” the statement said.
Read President Byrne’s declaration.