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By Editorial staff


Leigh Matthews: Parole process needs overhaul

The parole process should not be allowed to inflict even more hurt.

There is one fundamental question which needs to be asked about a proposed parole hearing that might allow callous and calculating murderer Donovan Moodley to go free.

How is it possible that someone sentenced to life in prison, along with 25 years jail for kidnapping and extortion, can apply for release on parole after serving just 16 years of those sentences?

There may well be nuanced legal answers to that question but the fact that someone can go through this process, after such a heinous crime, brings into disrepute our whole judicial system.

It is also not fair that the family of murdered Leigh Matthews has to once again go through the trauma of reliving her 2004 abduction, murder and even the handing over of a ransom for their child, who was shot to death by Moodley.

It is also patently unfair – as Leigh’s father, Rob, pointed out yesterday – that the Matthews family was not contacted directly by the prison authorities or the department of justice to inform them of the pending parole hearing.

leigh matthews presser

Rob Matthews, the father of murdered Leigh Matthews, speaks at a press conference, 22 June 2021, in Sandton, ahead of an expected parole application by his daughter’s convicted murderer Donovan Moodley. Picture: Citizen.co.za/Michel Bega

He made the strong point that if he struggled to communicate with the department of correction services (another shameful aspect of the saga), how much more difficult it must be for victims in rural areas to have their say about parole of the criminals who hurt them.

That did not seem to be the problem, however, when Chris Hani’s relatives made their feelings known in 2018 and again last year when his murderer, Janus Walus, applied unsuccessfully for parole. There should be no special treatment.

All victims of heinous crimes should be allowed to air their feelings about parole, especially in cases like the one of Moodley who, according to the Matthews family, has shown no remorse for what he did.

The parole process should not be allowed to inflict even more hurt.

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