Hewitt successful in bail extension

2016-06-20 21:07
Bob Hewitt. (Herman Verwey, Foto24)

Bob Hewitt. (Herman Verwey, Foto24)

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Johannesburg – Convicted rapist Bob Hewitt was successful in his bid to have his R10 000 bail extended.

The High Court in Johannesburg on Monday gave the disgraced former tennis champion until July 1 to lodge a petition with the Constitutional Court to challenge his conviction for two rapes and a sexual assault, and six-year jail sentence.

Judge Brian Spilg said he would give reasons for his decision on Wednesday morning.

Spilg said on Monday that his decision to extend bail was influenced by the contents of emails exchanged between two women who had accused Hewitt of raping them in the 1980s, when they were teenagers. He was their tennis coach.

The emails were exchanged in 2012. At the time, Hewitt had not been officially charged.

According to Hewitt's lawyers, the emails suggested there may have been collusion between the two victims. 

In the damning email, one of Hewitt's accusers asked the other whether they still had a case if there was no penetration. 

"That one struck me in the beginning. Can I, as a judge, say that's something that cannot be used in cross-examination? I can't," Spilg said.

"What worries me is the way in which the email is framed. As a litigation lawyer, this would have formed a basis for cross-examination."

The emails emerged late last year, following Hewitt's conviction. 

Emails ignored

The subject of the emails was however not raised when Hewitt approached the Supreme Court of Appeal several weeks ago.

The SCA ruled on June 9 that Hewitt abused his position of authority when he raped the two women and sexually assaulted another teenager.

It dismissed his appeal to have his six-year jail sentence overturned, and said his fame did not earn him special treatment. It said the high court had already taken his old age into consideration when it sentenced him. 

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

Two years of each sentence were suspended for two years, provided he paid a sum of money to a department of justice programme to combat the abuse of women and children.

He was sentenced to two years for indecently assaulting another teenaged girl he coached in the 1990s.

The sentences were to run concurrently, meaning he would serve in effect six years.

The SCA said it was regrettable that it had taken so long to bring him to justice. Hewitt's crimes had had a "lasting and devastating" effect on the victims and their families.

The two women, both divorcees, had struggled to maintain intimate relationships with men throughout their adult lives as a direct result of the rapes.

If Hewitt did not lodge the application by July 1, he had to hand himself over to police by July 4.

If his application to the Constitutional Court failed, he had to turn himself in within seven days.

During Monday's proceedings, the tall, grey-haired Hewitt sat in one corner of the court gallery next to his wife, Delaille. With her arms folded, Delaille nodded in agreement as Spilg raised questions about the emails.

Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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