Hewitt has 7 days to hand himself over, lawyer says

2016-09-13 09:22
Bob Hewitt. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Bob Hewitt. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Former tennis champion and convicted rapist Bob Hewitt must hand himself over to police within seven days following the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of his appeal.

His lawyer Johan Engelbrecht told News24 on Tuesday that although he had not seen the order himself, his junior had told him the court dismissed Hewitt's appeal against his six-year jail sentence.

“I haven’t seen the order of the Constitutional Court. All I know is that his bail conditions read that he must surrender himself within seven days should the application be dismissed.”

Engelbrecht said Hewitt would have to present himself to a prison in Johannesburg. However, an arrangement could be made that he be admitted at St Albans prison in Port Elizabeth.

In March last year, High Court Judge Bert Bam found the 76-year-old guilty of raping two women. In May, Bam sentenced Hewitt to eight years for each the rapes. Hewitt had coached the women in the 1980s when they were teenagers.

Two years of each sentence were suspended for two years, provided he paid an amount on each count towards a Department of Justice programme to combat the abuse of women and children.

In the 1990s, he coached another teenage girl - who may not be named – and he was sentenced to two years for indecently assaulting her. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently, meaning he got in effect six years.

Hewitt took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. The court dismissed the matter, saying Hewitt had abused his position of authority when he raped two young women and indecently assaulted the third.

It dismissed his appeal to have his six-year jail sentence overturned, and said his fame did not earn him special treatment. Hewitt then approached the Constitutional Court.

Secondary abuse

Non-profit organisation Women and Men Against Child Abuse, which helped bring attention to the case after one of the survivors, Suellen Sheehan, approached them in 2012, described the outcome as a victory.

“I think it’s been a complete victory all round, both for child rights in South Africa but also very much for adult survivors who have decided to come forward when they are ready to,” WMACA's director Miranda Friedmann told News24.

She said it took five years and the work of many people and took its toll on the women and their families.

She described the judicial process as “tantamount to secondary abuse” due to the length of time the complainants had to put their lives on hold for, and due to their having to see the perpetrator in court.

Friedmann said she was looking forward to seeing Hewitt hand himself over in a week.

“He has been found guilty by everyone and he is no longer the renowned tennis player. He is the worst of the worst.

“He is a child sexual molester and that is how he is going to die. He is going to be known as somebody who took so much advantage of vulnerable children,” she said.


Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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