De Kock's lawyer 'positive' about parole bid

2014-11-20 12:42
Julian Knight, legal representative of apartheid-era assassin Eugene de Kock, is seen at the North Gauteng High Court, where an agreement was reached on his parole. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Julian Knight, legal representative of apartheid-era assassin Eugene de Kock, is seen at the North Gauteng High Court, where an agreement was reached on his parole. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Pretoria - Apartheid-era assassin Eugene de Kock's lawyer said there was a "positive indication" he will be granted parole in January, after an agreement was reached in the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday.

"I think it is very positive and a very positive indication that he will be given parole when the minister finally decides on or before the 31st of January," Julian Knight told reporters outside the court.

"We have a new minister. I don't want to pre-judge, we will see what happens when a decision is made."

Agreement

According to the agreement, De Kock will find out in December if the national council for correctional services will recommend him for parole to the minister of justice and correctional services. The council had until 19 December to make its recommendation.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha had until 31 January to decide on the parole.

"I think it's good progress. It's a situation where both parties get what they want," Knight said.

A victim offender dialogue had taken place since August and Knight said the minister was "happy on that basis".

He said he was not part of the dialogue and could not comment on the response from the families of De Kock's victims.

Consultation with families of victims

In August, Masutha announced that De Kock, who has been nicknamed "Prime Evil", would have to wait another year before his application for parole was reconsidered, to allow the families of his victims to be consulted.

De Kock was in charge of a police "death squad" at Vlakplaas, outside Pretoria, and was arrested in mid-1994. He was convicted and sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria in 1996.

He was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for six murders, including those of the Nelspruit Five, and to a further 212 years' imprisonment on other charges.

During the quick court proceedings on Thursday, Roelof du Plessis for De Kock said an agreement was reached.

"Having read the papers and having heard counsel, the following order is made by agreement between the parties in light of the victim/offender dialogue which has taken place between the applicant and relatives of victims of the crimes committed by him," he said.

Barnard agreement

Justice Letty Molopa-Sethosa granted the order confirming the agreement for De Kock and a similar agreement for convicted killer Ferdinand Barnard.

In 1999, Barnard was convicted of the murder of activist David Webster and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The national council for correctional services had until 19 December to make a parole recommendation on Barnard to Masutha. Masutha had until 31 January to decide whether Barnard should get parole.

Read more on:    eugene de kock  |  michael masutha  |  prisons

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