No word on Waterkloof ruling appeal

2012-01-06 22:08
Pretoria - The stepfather of one of the "Waterkloof Four" said on Friday the first he learnt of an appeal against the commuting of his son's sentence was in the newspapers.

"We don't know about it. We haven't received anything. The first time we saw something was this morning in the newspaper," Jimmy Stonehouse said.

Last month Stonehouse's stepson Gert Van Schalkwyk was released into the custody of his family, as was Reinach Tiedt.

The two were imprisoned along with Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez in 2008 for killing a homeless man and assaulting another at a park in Pretoria in 2001.

The Pretoria News on Friday quoted correctional services deputy commissioner Zacharia Modise as saying the papers had been lodged with the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Modise could not be reached for comment, but late last month he told Sapa the department would appeal against the decision by the Zonderwater prison's parole board to commute the sentences of Van Schalkwyk and Tiedt to house arrest.

A wrangle between the department and the courts followed after the Pretoria Regional Court ordered Tiedt and Schalkwyk be released from prison.

They walked out of jail on December 19 2011, after serving three years of their 12-year sentences.

Lawyer for the two released men, Jenny Brewis, confirmed her office had received papers from the department, but said she could not comment on them as she was still on leave.

She would return to work next week.

After Modise announced on December 26 that the department would appeal the prison parole board's decision to commute the sentences, Brewis said at the time she considered their subsequent release under correctional supervision as final, and with no scope for an appeal.

She said the commuting of the sentences, as recommended by the parole board and confirmed by the courts, was not an action her clients had undertaken, but had been carried out by the department itself.

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