Janusz Walus lawyer mulls another appeal for parole
Johannesburg - The lawyer of the man convicted for killing former SACP leader Chris Hani is heading back to court to secure his parole.
Julian Knight, Janusz Walus’s lawyer, revealed this while reacting to Monday’s decision by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, to deny Walus parole for the fourth time.
Giving reasons for his decision, Lamola said: “Placing offender Walus on parole would negate the severity that the court sought when sentencing him.”
Knight said they were working on the court papers and had not decided which court, between the Constitutional Court and the local high court, to approach but would have an idea in the coming days.
He criticised Lamola’s decision saying the minister relied on the “poorest of reasons”, which were sentencing remarks made 27 years ago. He argued that by doing so, Lamola ignored the four court rulings made in their favour regarding the parole request.
“He relies upon the sentence remarks made 27 years ago as outweighing all the other factors. Every single time there has been the need for a decision, the various ministers have reached for the nearest fruit hanging from the tree Each time they have a different one, each time, like a magician, they pull a rabbit out of the hat,” Knight said.
He told Independent Media on Tuesday that in his understanding of the law, the longer the sentence was served by an offender, the lesser the sentencing remarks became relevant.
He cited two cases where the sentencing remarks were harsh but the offenders were later paroled.
“The sentence remarks can never change, that’s why if you look at your jurisprudence and your parole manuals that are applicable in this matter, your sentence remarks, the longer the person has served, and the longer they have rehabilitated themselves, the least important the sentence remarks become,” Knight said.
In response to the bid by Walus’s legal team to review Lamola’s decision, a livid SACP said due to the struggle waged by Hani, Walus should be grateful that his death penalty was commuted to life imprisonment.
Party spokesperson Dr Alex Mashilo said Walus had tried everything in the book not to serve his prison sentence, including approaching the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Chrispin Phiri, the spokesperson for Justice and Correctional Services, did not respond when asked whether they would oppose the latest court challenge.