Credibility of alleged Hewitt victim under spotlight

2015-02-17 13:16
Bob Hewitt (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Bob Hewitt (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The credibility of one of former Grand Slam tennis champion Bob Hewitt's alleged victims came under the spotlight on Tuesday as journalists testified about interviews she had granted them.

Prosecutor Carina Coetzee questioned the testimony of a journalist who testified in the rape and indecent assault trial.

The reporter, Charmaine Slater of the Bedforview and Edenvale News, had earlier testified that she wrote an article about Hewitt and one of his alleged victims Suellen Sheehan in 2011.

She said she relied exclusively on her notes to compile the article. The notes were handed in as evidence in the trial.

Notes

After going through the notes and the article, however, Coetzee said there were aspects and quotations that Slater had used in her article which did not appear in her notes.

"I very often write articles on memory and on notes," said Slater.

"The words were said. They were not in the notes," she said.

Coetzee alleged, as with a previous witness, journalist Shaun Gillham, that Slater had added unverified material to the article to "give it colour".

Earlier, Slater had testified that Sheehan claimed to have been raped by Hewitt in his car when she was 11.

Sheehan, however, testified the rape happened when she was 12.

Slater said she had sent the article to Sheehan who responded by saying she had done a "fantastic job".

2011 interview

Gillham, a reporter for the Weekend Post in Port Elizabeth, earlier testified that he interviewed Sheehan for an article which was published on 3 September 2011.

He told the court that Sheehan said Hewitt had sexually assaulted her but made no mention of rape.

The article stated that: "She was approached by Hewitt when she was 0 years old and that he had sexually assaulted her."

Gillham maintained that Sheehan had never said anything about rape.

"I stand by this article," said Gillham, adding that according to his understanding, Sheehan said Hewitt had began sexually assaulting her when she was 9.

"So these are her words?" asked Terry Price, for Hewitt, "Absolutely," responded Gillham.

He said it was always important for a journalist to ensure that sources were quoted verbatim but the notes he took during his telephonic interview with Sheehan were no longer available.

Gillham said Sheehan had never contested the article and several follow-up articles had also been written on the matter.

Alzheimer's disease

In his article, Gillham also stated that they had been informed that Hewitt suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

When he later spoke to Hewitt he never verified these claims.

Gillham said this was kept in the article to "add colour".

Sheehan is one of two women who have testified that Hewitt raped them in the 1980s.

A third witness claimed she was sexually assaulted by Hewitt in the 1990s.

Hewitt, now 75 years old, is on trial for two counts of rape and one of indecent assault.

Sheehan has told the court that she was misquoted in several newspaper articles, particularly on her age when Hewitt allegedly raped her.

Her mother, Judy Sheehan, took the stand to testify.

Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  johannesburg

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.