Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Murderer Of Chris Hani Has Parole Application Dismissed

PRETORIA 17 March 2009 Sapa


The parole application of Chris Hani's murderer, Clive Derby-Lewis, was dismissed in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday.

Handing down judgment in less than a minute, Deputy Judge President Jerry Shongwe said it was the unanimous decision of a full bench that Derby-Lewis' application be dismissed with costs for all five respondents' legal teams.

Derby-Lewis, 73, had served 15-years of a life sentence, after his death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished.

The parole board made recommendations in November 2007 that he was eligible for parole.

In a written judgment, the bench said the court was not in a
position, as respondents had argued, to place an applicant on parole.

"It is common cause that we do not have the record of proceedings of the [parole] board."

It also ruled in favour of the Hani family - the fifth respondent in the matter - that they had the right to make recommendations, and this opportunity had not been afforded to them.

"One cannot argue... that the fifth respondent's representations will be of a political nature and nothing else.

"Any person, including the applicant, may put relevant information before a board. It is the duty of that board to weigh and consider all information placed before it," the judges ruled.

The records of the board and the Hani family's submissions, among others, were not made available to the court, so it therefore could not rule on Derby-Lewis's parole.

The judges further ruled that Derby-Lewis's application to the court was premature.

"It is clear from the papers that the applicant fears that the minister [of correctional services] will arbitrarily refuse his placement on parole.

"If this is to happen, it may be proper cause to apply for a review of the minister's decision."

Speaking outside the Pretoria court, Derby-Lewis's attorney Marius Coertze said he was disappointed with the ruling.

"I am shocked and extremely disappointed. I really, really expected a much more positive outcome."

Coertze said he did not understand why the application had been dismissed but he would study the ruling and then consider if an appeal was on the cards.

"The worst of all is I now have to go back to my client and to tell him the bad news. It is going to be tough."

He said the judgment on costs was "huge".

"I would imagine it rounds into more than R1 million in legal costs and Clive will have to pay it. So I think they must deduct it from his food allowance or something, R5 a month," he said chuckling incredulously.

Referring to the recent medical parole of convicted fraudster
Schabir Shaik, he said it was a tragedy.

"My feelings are under this current political dispensation there's no administrative justice for especially Afrikaner people like Clive Derby-Lewis.

"If you look at the Schabir Shaik case, it's a travesty of justice that Shaik can get parole offered to him on a silver platter and a person like Clive Derby-Lewis has to fight tooth and nail and still fails," he said.

Shaik was released on medical parole over two weeks ago after
serving less than three years of his sentence.

Derby-Lewis and his accomplice, Janusz Walus, were sentenced to death for the murder of Hani, the SA Communist Party leader, in 1993.

Walus remained in Pretoria's C-Max prison and did not, as yet, qualify for a parole application.

Derby-Lewis and Hani's wife Limpho were not in court.

JOHANNESBURG 17 March 2009 Sapa


The minister of correctional services has welcomed Tuesday's High Court ruling dismissing convicted murderer Clive Derby-Lewis's application for parole.

"We are happy that [Derby-Lewis]'s efforts to short circuit and avoid due processes of ensuring that his parole application receives appropriate attention have been rejected by the court," said minister Ngconde Balfour in a statement.

Derby-Lewis was convicted for his part in the murder of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani in 1993.

Balfour said the ruling meant that prisoners could only receive parole through the Department of Correctional Services.

In November of last year, Balfour stated emphatically that
Derby-Lewis would not receive parole.

"I will tell you he will not go out (of prison) Clive can go to hell. You're not going to go out until you do your time, it's as simple as that," said Balfour.

Balfour joined the African National Congress and Hani's family in welcoming the high court ruling.

"The African National Congress has noted the decision of the
Pretoria High Court to dismiss the parole application of Clive Derby-Lewis, one of the killers of ANC and SACP stalwart Chris Hani," said ANC spokeswoman Jessie Duarte.

"The ANC respects and welcomes the decision of the court.

"The callous murder of Isithwalandwe Chris Hani in 1993 struck a grave blow to those South Africans who regarded him as a hero of the liberation struggle, and threatened to derail the process towards a political settlement in this country," Duarte said.

The Hani family said in a statement through spokesman Chris Vick, the ruling had "strengthened our resolve and provides some reassurance".

"We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that this man serves his full sentence, and that justice runs its full course."

The family also appreciated the support it had received from "many, many people and organisations" who had been opposed to Derby-Lewis' early release.

Asked to comment, Derby-Lewis' wife Gaye said: "I have absolutely nothing to say. Let the country decide," before hanging up the phone.

The High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday dismissed Derby-Lewis' parole application with costs. Handing down judgment, Deputy Judge President Jerry Shongwe said it was the unanimous decision of a full bench.

Derby-Lewis, 73, has served 15 years of a life sentence, after his death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished.

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