Court opens door for Beuthin's bail

The Johannesburg High Court has opened the way for former bouncer Gary Beuthin to be freed on bail.

In an order granted on Tuesday, the court set aside the Correctional Services Department’s decision to revoke Beuthin’s parole.

It also ordered that he be transferred “with immediate effect” to Johannesburg prison’s Medium A section for awaiting trial prisoners.

Beuthin had claimed that, among other things, he was being “severely victimised and intimidated” by prison authorities and was not being treated in the same way as other prisoners accused of committing crimes while out on parole.

He was released on parole on June 8 2007, having served 15 years of a 25-year sentence for kidnapping and assaulting his former girlfriend, Jill Reeves.

He was arrested on November 20 for the alleged kidnapping and assault of former Hell’s Angel president Eduard Jacobs, and alleged possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Although initially kept in police holding cells, he was transferred two days later to Johannesburg prison’s Medium A section.

“... At no point was I ever given any written or verbal warnings by my parole officer for conduct in conflict with my parole conditions and I indeed reported to my parole officer in November 2007,” Beuthin wrote in the founding affidavit in his notice of motion.

“... On 30 November I was informed that I could not be monitored whilst incarcerated and my parole was revoked.
I was transferred from Medium A ... to ... Medium B ..., which is for sentenced inmates.

“I wish to state, no hearing regarding my parole has ever taken place, ever before a court or the parole board committee. I emphasise that ... I was merely informed that my parole had been revoked without giving me an opportunity to make representations in this regard.”

In the meantime, he further charged, the Department of Correctional Services had made threats to transfer him to other prisons, including those outside the Johannesburg area.

In the order granted on Tuesday, the Johannesburg High Court ruled that “pending the finalisation of any criminal matter against the applicant or the applicant being granted bail, the applicant is to be detained at Medium A Johannesburg Correctional Centre”.

Even though he was at court representing himself, Beuthin was not immediately aware that the order had been granted. He was left standing in the corridor outside the court while Correctional Services attorney Daniel Mpanza was dealing with the matter inside.

Asked by judge Ralph Zulman whether Beuthin was in the court, Mpanza appeared to indicate that he was.

In fact, Beuthin was in a slanging match outside the court with warders he accused of swearing at him, who had apprently told him to move from where he was packing his bags in preparation for his court appearance.

Dressed in a bright orange prison overall and wearing leg irons, Beuthin was taken to the holding cells without setting foot in the courtroom after Mpanza came out.

He had told Zulman that the Correctional Services Department agreed to the terms of the order, and it was summarily granted.

This included the postponement until June 3 of a ruling on Beuthin’s request for written feedback on a complaint he made in the prison register and for the department’s assistance, and not hindrance, in his preparations for his pending criminal case.

In a hearing on the same matter last month, the Johannesburg High Court chastised the state attorney’s office for its handling of the matter.

It ordered that he be given the medication and a special high-protein vegetarian diet he needed.

At court on Tuesday to support Beuthin was his fiancee, Melanie van Niekerk, who is accused with him in the Jacobs case, with Warren Schertel.

Van Niekerk and Schertel are out on bail of R10 000 each.

The trial of the three has been set down for a hearing in the Johannesburg High Court from October 20 until November 28. - Sapa

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