The DA will be scrutinising any medical parole application by Mr Selebi closely
James Selfe, DA Spokesperson on Correctional Services
16 January 2012
Media reports suggest that a group known as “The Friends of Jackie Selebi” have submitted an application that Mr Selebi be released on medical parole.
If Mr Selebi qualifies for release on medical parole, then the procedure laid down in the Correctional Services Act and its regulations must be followed to the letter. The procedure starts with an application which must be accompanied by a written medical report, recommending placement on medical parole, and giving a complete medical diagnosis and prognosis, and reasons why medical parole should be considered. This medical report is considered by a medical advisory board, which may additionally obtain further medical advice from one or more specialists.
Secondly, medical parole can only be granted if an offender:
• “is suffering from a terminal disease or condition, or if the offender is rendered physically incapacitated as a result of injury, disease or illness so as to severely limit daily activity or inmate self care” AND
• “the risk of reoffending is low” AND
• “there are appropriate arrangements for the inmate’s care in the community.”
Assuming that the medical report as endorsed by the medical advisory board recommends placement on medical parole, the application must then be considered by a Parole Board, which must also consider:
• whether the trial judge was aware of the medical condition at the time of sentencing;
• any sentencing remarks made by the trial judge;
• the type of offence and length of sentence outstanding;
• previous criminal convictions;
• the offender’s conduct, adaptation and disciplinary record while serving his/her sentence; and
• the likelihood of his/her relapse into crime.
In this particular case, I understand that the application by “The Friends of Jackie Selebi” is not accompanied by a medical report, and therefore will not even be entertained by the Department of Correctional Services.
While the DA supports the right of inmates who qualify for medical parole to be placed on such parole, it will scrutinise this, and any other application for medical parole, very closely to ensure that the procedures laid down by the Act are followed to the letter. This is both because of the blatant miscarriage of justice that occurred when Schabir Shaik was illegally released on medical parole, and because there are many unanswered questions that surround the seemingly very rapid onset of renal failure in the case of Jackie Selebi.