Wanganui District Council yesterday began legal action to prevent serial sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson from being paroled in Wanganui.
The council's lawyer, Hayden Wilson, lodged an application for a judicial review in the Wellington High Court yesterday morning.
The hearing is likely to be held on August 27.
The Department of Corrections announced on August 8 that Wilson, who has served 18 years of a 21-year sentence for multiple crimes against women, children and animals, would be paroled to a house on Pauri Rd, near the Whanganui Prison. The Parole Board said Wilson was still at high risk of offending, and 17 strict conditions have been placed on him ahead of his August 29 release.
The decision has outraged some sectors of the community, and several public meetings have been held to discuss what can be done to prevent Wilson being housed in the district.
At an extraordinary council meeting on August 16, councillors resolved to, among other actions, "proceed to a judicial review of the Parole Board's decision to release Stewart Murray Wilson into the Wanganui community".
The thrust of the council's application is that the Parole Board failed in its obligation to "properly consider the safety of the community".
"[The Parole Board] erred in law in that it failed to properly discharge its obligation under section 7  of the Parole Act to have, as its paramount consideration, the safety of the community."
The application notes that in its advice to the Parole Board, Corrections started its consideration by "eliminating all locations where a victim of [Wilson] was located in the wider area.
"[Corrections] did not, or did not adequately, consider the places where [Wilson] could be required to reside that would reflect that the safety of the community is the paramount consideration."
The application says the Parole Board also erred in its decision because Corrections did not provide it with information about the suitability of housing Wilson in other locations. The application also notes that Corrections did not tell the council in its resource consents applications for Wilson's house that it intended for Wilson to live there.
The application requests that the matter be referred back to the Parole Board to be reconsidered.
Meanwhile, Wilson's lawyer, Andrew McKenzie, yesterday lodged an application for a judicial review on behalf of his client, appealing against the 17 conditions imposed on him.
Ironically, both the council and Wilson now appear to be on the same side, with Mr McKenzie saying his client did not want to go to Wanganui. "Wilson doesn't want to go to Wanganui, especially in this climate. So they [the council and Wilson] are essentially on the same page in that regard.
"The application [for a judicial review] does challenge Wanganui as a destination."
Mr McKenzie said it was likely both applications for judicial review would be heard together by one judge, to prevent conflicting rulings.
Council chief executive Kevin Ross said resource consents for the Corrections house were still being processed.