Prison party may buy years more time in jail for Waterkloof pair

2014-02-18 00:00

THEIR alleged escapades while in jail may have ended the parole of convixcted murderers Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez, and could yet add several more years imprisonment for them.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) could revoke their parole 72 hours after they were rearrested and can order that they serve out the rest of their sentences in jail. This could be up to five and a half years each.

Dr Llewellyn Curlewis, president of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, said in terms of the Correctional Services Act, the DCS has the right to detain the two for 72 hours until the investigation into the cellphone video allegedly showing them drinking in their cell, reported in the City Press is completed.

“Furthermore, depending on the outcome of the investigation, the department can argue that the two had made themselves guilty of misconduct while they were in custody in prison and that the decision to release them on parole must be revoked, to the extent that they may not be considered for parole again, until their sentences have been served.”

Curlewis was commenting after Becker and Van Schalkwyk were arrested on Sunday after videos of their comfortable lives, parties with alcohol and their free use of cellphones in prison were leaked.

Earlier reports were that Becker and Du Preez enjoyed takeaway meals, satellite TV, long sessions in the gymnasium and allegedly even alcohol during the five-and-half years they were behind bars.

DCS spokesperson Manelisi Wolela said the department viewed in a very serious light the allegations that alcohol had been smuggled into prison and that the party was filmed on a cellphone or camera. Prisoners may not have cellphones or cameras in prison.

He said this case was unique and not one that occurred every day in prisons. He said their representatives will now have to make legal arguments and see what constitutional rights the two young men have.

“From a practical point of view, they sit with the potential problem because it [the video] shows they were involved in not heeding the regulations in prison, and that they drank alcohol without permission and even had cellphones with them.

“In all probability, the parole board approved their application without realising that the two could have made themselves guilty of further misconduct.

“If they knew that, they would have come to a different conclusion and on that basis, the department can revoke the parole,” said Curlewis.

The DCS has the final say. Curlewis explained that parole was not a right, but a privilege.

The 72 hours expire tomorrow afternoon.

Top attorney Oelof de Meyer yesterday said, after urgent talks with the parents of Becker and Du Preez, that he had sent a letter to the DCS asking precisely what was going on.

“I understand that they have 72 hours to investigate and we will wait until it is finalised,” De Meyer said.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Francois Lubbe, Becker’s best friend, is also a convicted criminal. He hit a certain Riaan Brand on the head with a glass at a University of Pretoria Rag event in 2003, the year after they had matriculated.

Lubbe received a suspended sentence of five years and had to pay R800 to Brand each month for five years. André Brand, Riaan’s father, confirmed the incident, but did not want to comment.

Brand did not react to queries yesterday. Lubbe said he also did not want to talk to the media.

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