Judge slams police for arresting Hewitt

2016-06-20 14:00
Bob Hewitt (Herman Verwey/Foto24)

Bob Hewitt (Herman Verwey/Foto24)

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Johannesburg - High Court Judge Brian Spilg on Monday lashed out at the police for placing convicted rapist Bob Hewitt under arrest as he waited to have his bail extension application heard.

Spilg was informed that Hewitt's attornies had informed the State of their intention to apply for the extension last week, but upon their arrival in court on Monday, the investigating officer placed Hewitt under arrest.

Hewitt's lawyer, Stephanie Green, said she had been busy trying to get the matter before a judge earlier on Monday morning when she received a call from Hewitt, saying the investigating officer was arresting him.

The officer had given Hewitt until 11:00 to sort out his legal matters.

Spilg said he was not interested in the arrest and would hear Hewitt's application.

He said he would not tolerate the police's interference in the separation of powers. He demanded an explanation, adding that this undermined the function of the court.

As the matter played out, Hewitt was seated in the court gallery next to his wife Delaille, as the dock was occupied by a group of other men whose case was being heard by Spilg.

The wife of the disgraced former tennis champ helped Hewitt, who is hard of hearing, to follow the proceedings.

"Can you hear him?" she asked him following Spilg's criticisms.

"I know he crapped on them," the 76-year-old replied.

Hewitt was seeking an extension of his bail as he prepares to appeal his double rape and sexual assault sentence in the Constitutional Court.

State opposes application

Hewitt had failed in his bid to get his sentence overturned in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

The SCA said Hewitt had abused his position of authority when he raped two young women and sexually assaulted another.

It dismissed his appeal to have his six-year jail sentence overturned, and said his fame did not earn him special treatment.

In March last year, High Court Judge Bert Bam found the 76-year-old guilty of raping two women. Bam sentenced Hewitt to eight years each for the rapes in May. 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. He was sentenced to two years for indecently assaulting her.

The SCA said it was regrettable that it had taken so long to bring him to justice.

It said Hewitt’s crimes had had a "lasting and devastating" effect on the victims and their families.

Both women who were raped by Hewitt are divorcees and have submitted that they struggled to maintain intimate relationships with men throughout their adult lives as a direct result of the rapes.

Meanwhile, prosecutor Carina Coetzee told the court that they were opposing Hewitt's application.

She arrived in court after proceedings had started and requested time to view Hewitt's application.

The matter continues. 

Read more on:    police  |  bob hewitt  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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