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Justice minister Ronald Lamola to review decision to release convicted rapist Bob Hewitt on parole

Justice and constitutional development minister Ronald Lamola
Justice and constitutional development minister Ronald Lamola
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

Minister of justice and correctional services Ronald Lamola will review a decision by the correctional supervision and parole board to release convicted rapist and abuser Bob Hewitt on parole.

In a statement released on Sunday‚ the department of justice said Lamola had received confirmation from the parole board that Hewitt would be released on parole.

A letter sent to one of Hewitt’s victims confirmed that he would be released on September 23.

“On August 23 2019‚ the correctional services and parole board considered the application of Mr Hewitt for placement on parole and placement on parole was granted to him to be placed out on September 23 2019‚” the letter read.

The letter also stated that Hewitt would be released under the “high risk” category for the duration of his parole which ends on September 19‚ 2022.

“Upon studying the CSPB’s decision‚ the minister noted with grave concern the lack of participation by the victims of crimes in the parole consideration process.

"It is critical that the justice system in all its facets pays a considerable amount of attention to the victim-centric approach‚ as envisioned in national framework on sexual offences of 2012‚” the department of justice said in its statement.

The department said Lamola had instructed the national commissioner of correctional services‚ Arthur Fraser‚ to take the matter on review with the correctional supervision and parole review board (CSPRB)‚ as per Section 77(1) of the Correctional Services Act.

“The CSPRB is an empowered structure to review the decision of the CSPB should a submission be made to it by the minister of correctional services‚ the commissioner of correctional services‚ the inspecting judge or the 'person concerned'‚” the department 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.”

According to the department‚ referring the matter for review means the parole board’s decision to release Hewitt is now suspended.

Hewitt‚ who was a major name on the international professional tennis circuit‚ was convicted in March 2015 of raping two teenage tennis pupils and sexually assaulting a third in the 1980s and 1990s.

He was sentenced to six years‚ but was only jailed in September 2016 after an unsuccessful Constitutional Court appeal.

He has served the minimum time required to be considered for parole.

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