Due consideration had not been given to the victims of convicted rapist Bob Hewitt and the process needed to be reventilated, claimed attorney Justin Ramages from TGR Attorneys after the correctional services department confirmed that the 79-year-old convicted rapist and former tennis player would be released on parole on September 23.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has intervened and has halted Hewitt’s parole, adding that it needed to be reviewed, because there was no input from the victims.
The matter will now go through the parole review board, which can either uphold the initial decision on the matter or suspend it and apply their own decision.
Speaking on MorningLive, Ramages maintained that the parole board had to consider the interested parties who were still traumatised by the events.
“They (the department) have a procedure in order to execute on, depending on the time frame that you’re allowed to apply for it. They applied their minds to it. Actual consideration wasn’t given to the victims and there we have a shortcoming.”
Ramages said that medical parole would only be applicable if Hewitt was suffering from ill-health or at risk of dying.
“There is still a review process, from the review board,” he said.
He said there needed to be proper consideration of the women that may still feel aggrieved by Hewitt.
“These women have to live with it and we don’t know how it impairs” their relationships since the rape or offences happened, he said.
It was a stressful situation on both ends, admitted Ramages, clarifying that Lamola could only guide policy and urge the process to be reviewed.
Hewitt is serving a six-year sentence for the rape and sexual assault of three women who were minors in the 1980s. He was convicted in 2015.
National commissioner of correctional services Arthur Fraser has been tasked with reviewing the matter with the parole board.
Spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said: “Minister Lamola is of the view that it is fair and in the interests of justice that the victims and their families are afforded an opportunity to participate in the parole consideration process of the offender, as required by laws governing our parole process.
“As mandated by section 75(8) of the Correctional Services Act, referring this matter for a review with the correctional supervision and parole review board will mean that a date of placement for inmate Hewitt is now suspended.”