CONFIRMED: Correctional services board grants convicted rapist Bob Hewitt parole, survivors to seek urgent review

2019-09-15 11:29
Bob Hewitt during a court appearance. (Herman Verwey/Gallo)

Bob Hewitt during a court appearance. (Herman Verwey/Gallo)

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A correctional services board has granted parole to convicted rapist and former tennis player and coach Bob Hewitt.

In a letter seen by News24, from the chairperson of the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board for St. Albans – a Ms CC Binta – it states that Hewitt will be released on September 23.

The letter is dated September 12, and states that Hewitt will be placed under "High Risk category for the duration of his parole which will end on 19 September 2022".

This comes after the board received an application for consideration on August 13, 2019.

The decision was taken in terms of Section 73 (6) (a) of the Correctional Services Act (Act 111 of 1998).

"When an offender has served the minimum detention period of his/her sentence, he/she qualifies to be considered by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board for placement on parole," the letter explains.

Hewitt, 79, was convicted for the rape of two young women and sexually assaulting another who he coached in the 1980s and 1990s. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

'No prospects of rehabilitation'

The former tennis star was found guilty of rape in 2015 and was sentenced to an effective six years in jail by Judge Bert Bam in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

"There are clearly no prospects of rehabilitation," Bam said at the time.

On Count 1, for rape, he received an eight-year prison term, suspended for two years on condition that he pays R50 000 to the Department of Justice to use in campaigns opposing violence against women.

On Count 2, also for rape, he received the same sentence. On the charge of sexual assault, he received two years, suspended.

If he had been convicted in his 50s, he would have received at least a 20-year jail term, Bam added.

News24 previously reported that in September 2018, Hewitt had applied for parole, after having served only two years of his sentence.

He later changed his application and opted to have the remainder of his sentence converted to house arrest, News24 previously reported.

His request was denied.

ALSO READ: Lawyer says convicted rapist Bob Hewitt to be released on parole - report

The lawyer who represented two of the three survivors, Tania Koen, told News24 on Sunday that the survivors were shocked by the letter as they had not made representations.

"Only one of the three victims received written confirmation. I find it very strange.

"The survivors are very surprised and shocked that they did not get an opportunity to make representations to the board. One victim told me she felt 'raped again' by this news because there was a total disregard for her rights," Koen said.

As a result Koen, on behalf of the survivors, wrote to the Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, as well as the Portfolio Committee on Justice in Parliament, to seek an urgent review of the decision.

Should this request, which was written on Friday, not be attended to, Koen intends to lodge an urgent application in the High Court.

"I have asked them that in terms of the law they need to refer the matter for reconsideration to the review board of correctional services.

"I am hoping to get a response during the course of the week, I am trusting that it will be treated as an urgent matter; if we don't get confirmation, we will launch a High Court application," she said.

Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  courts  |  crime  |  rape  |  judiciary
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