Judge Tshifiwa Maumela on Tuesday reserved judgment in the High Court in Pretoria in Du Preez’s application to set aside the Parole Board’s decision earlier this month — to withdraw his parole and ordering that he could only be considered for parole again in January 2015.
The Parole Board deemed Du Preez not to have been sufficiently rehabilitated, after a video recording of him and Christoff Becker apparently having a party and drinking in their cell went viral on YouTube.
The two were released on parole in February, along with Reinach Tiedt and Gert van Schalkwyk, but Du Preez and Becker were re-arrested a few days later as a result of the leaked video footage and their parole was subsequently revoked.
The four were sentenced in 2005 to 12 years’ imprisonment for murdering a homeless man and assaulting another in 2001, but only started serving their sentences in August 2008 after a failed appeal.
The High Court last month ordered that Du Preez’s parole must be reconsidered by a new Parole Board because of irregularities, but the reconstituted Parole Board also revoked his parole.
Du Preez’s advocate, Jaco Roux, on Tuesday argued that the Board had no jurisdiction to revoke parole and order a re-hearing in January because Du Preez had not violated any of his parole conditions.
He said it was common cause that Du Preez was never charged, nor found guilty at any disciplinary inquiry while incarcerated, or even thereafter, relating to an alleged offence committed while incarcerated.
Correctional Services maintained that parole would not have been granted if they had been aware of the video, but Roux argued that the applicable legislation simply did not provide for a parole board reviewing their own decision.
Marumo Moerane SC, for Correctional Services, argued that the Parole Board had wide powers and that there was nothing in the legislation to say parole could only be cancelled on violation of parole conditions.
“The Parole Board can cancel parole for any legal, justifiable reason.
“It can also relate to matters that arose while the applicant was still in jail, but was not known to the department when he was given parole,” he said.
Moerane argued that Du Preez was still a sentenced prisoner until the day his sentence expired and the Parole Board therefore had jurisdiction over him until that day.
He said the video “obviously” had to be investigated as it related to the conduct of Du Preez and Becker while they were serving a sentence for a very serious crime.
It had been established that Du Preez had willingly taken part in the creation of the video, which was at least a disciplinary infringement as the video was recorded on a cellphone and cellphones were prohibited.
He said there was no guarantee that parole would be either refused or granted in five months’ time when Du Preez’s case was considered again.