THE bid to release a law student from prison on parole failed yesterday, prompting his lawyer to take the matter to the high court.

Vusi Motau, 28, was denied parole by the board at Zonderwater Prison near Pretoria yesterday, though he has studied for an LLB degree and passed more than half the subjects while incarcerated.

Motau, from Ekangala township near Brokhorstpruit in Mpumalanga, qualified for parole in May after serving six years. But after presenting a nine-page affidavit and eight certificates awarded to Motau, his advocate Paul Shapiro, was told the application had been declined.

" No reasons were provided. The decision was made so quickly. The next step is to file an application in the high court to have him released, "Shapiro said

"I will not stop here. This is what the new South Africa is about. For someone prepared to work hard and honestly, no door should be closed. To refuse him parole is counterproductive and discourages him," said Shapiro.

Motau was convicted of robbery and sentenced in February 2003. He had no previous convictions and injured no one in the robbery.

He told the parole board that the University of South Africa had offered him a loan to continue his studies.

"It is my intention to ultimately practise as an attorney. I am registered with Unisa and I have completed 22 of the 40 courses required to be awarded an LLB degree," he said.

"I believe that I have demonstrated social responsibility and human development by my commitment to my studies and the pre-release programmes, and that I should be given the chance to make amends to society."

Motau explained the difficulties he faced while studying in prison.

"I share a cell with 34 other prisoners. The lighting and other conditions made it extremely difficult to study," he said. "Furthermore, I used to get my study material late, which put more pressure on me. Despite those difficulties I have passed 22 subjects."

Motau's father had offered him a job and said he could stay at home while he continued his studies if he got parole.