Waterkloof parole decision flawed - judge

2014-07-10 17:38
Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez  (Herman Verwey, Beeld)

Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez (Herman Verwey, Beeld)

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Pretoria - The correctional supervision and the parole board did not follow basic precepts when it revoked the parole of Frikkie du Preez, one of the so-called Waterkloof Four, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled on Thursday.

Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann took issue with the composition of the board, noting that one member was replaced and the substitute had not attended public hearing regarding the parole.

"The board did not, as a collective, attend the hearing and consequently the applicant was denied the right to a fair hearing before a properly constituted board," he said.

"The decision of the board is, therefore, fundamentally flawed and must therefore be set aside."

He ordered that a newly constituted parole board must reconsider Du Preez's application for parole.

Du Preez and Christoff Becker's parole was revoked when a video emerged of the pair drinking what appeared to be alcohol and using a cellphone at the Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria.

The Waterkloof Four - Du Preez, Becker, Gert van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt - were released on bail on 11 February after being jailed for beating a homeless man to death in Pretoria in 2001.

Becker and Du Preez were sent back to prison on 28 February.

Public hearing

On Thursday, Bertelsmann said the decision to revoke his bid was flawed, owing to the composition of the board.

"Unbeknown to the applicant [Du Preez], the composition of the board was changed. One community member was replaced by another who had not been part of the board's public hearing.

"The new board then deliberated without a further hearing and resolved that the applicant's parole ought to be revoked. The applicant sought a review of that decision on the grounds that it offended his rights to a fair administrative proceeding," he said.

Bertelsmann said parole board procedures clearly envisage a public hearing and should have allowed Du Preez to address it.

"The manner in which the board came to its conclusion does not comply with these fundamental principles. The new member did not hear any evidence, did not engage with the applicant's representative," Bertelsmann said.

"The applicant was denied the right to deal with any concerns that this new member might have. His right to have his fate decided by a board that had engaged with him was therefore infringed."

Bertelsmann set aside the decision of the parole board and ordered that a new correctional services and parole board had to be constituted within 21 days.

"The board must re-hear the applicant's application. Pending the finalisation of the new proceedings, the applicant will remain incarcerated," he said.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime  |  waterkloof 4
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