A full bench of the North Gauteng High Court today dismissed an application by Reinach Tiedt and Gert van Schalkwyk for leave to appeal against their ruling in June this year that they must return to prison.
The judges also granted an order to the correctional Services Minister, ordering that the two must report back to Zonderwater Prison by September 23, despite any further attempts to appeal.
Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk maintained their private and business lives would be gravely negatively affected if they were sent back to jail before they have exhausted all of their appeal.
They said they have already been under house arrest for almost two years, which was in itself a severe punishment.
Judge Hand Fabricius however said this was an absurd argument, having regard to a prison regime that a social worker described as difficult and harsh, while the two lived under almost normal circumstances.
He said the social worker’s report made no mention of the other two – Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez – who were ostensibly serving their sentences with dignity.
“As our judgment said: a prisoner is not lawfully entitled to parole if more than five years of his/her sentence remains. That is what the Criminal Procedure Act says and that is what this case is all about. We must apply the law and the respondents must know … that our reasoning is based on this fact.
“The public must know it and every single prisoner as well. It is in the interests of justice,” Judge Fabricius said.
The four were in January 2007 sentenced to 12 years imprisonment each for murdering an unidentified man in a Pretoria park in 2001.
A Pretoria magistrate converted Tiedt and van Schalkwyk’s sentences to correctional supervision in December 2011, but the Correctional Services took the matter on review. Three High Court Judges ruled in June this year that the decision was wrong and they should go back to prison