I stopped raping girls, Hewitt argues in appeal

2016-05-03 11:35
Bob Hewitt. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Bob Hewitt. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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Bloemfontein – The six-year jail sentence imposed on former tennis Grand Slam champion and convicted rapist Bob Hewitt does not fit the crime, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein heard on Tuesday.

"The crux of the matter is that age is supposed to be taken into account. Our submission is that the sentence over-emphasises the crime and the retribution," his lawyer Johann Engelbrecht told the three judges.

The 76-year-old Hewitt was appealing his six-year sentence for raping two young women and sexually assaulting another.

Engelbrecht argued that Hewitt was a changed man and that he had not continued raping young girls.

He said the trial court should have considered that when one of his victims said it was painful, Hewitt had withdrawn. The time that had elapsed since the crimes should also be considered.

However, Justice Mandisa Maya said the psychological trauma of the complainants had to be considered.

She said the trial court could have imposed life imprisonment considering the nature of the crimes.

In March last year, Pretoria High Court Judge Bert Bam found him guilty of raping Suellen Sheehan and Theresa "Twiggy" Tolken when they were teenagers in the 1980s, and the indecent assault of a third woman when she was a teenager in the 1990s. He gave tennis lessons to all three.

In May, Bam sentenced him to eight years each for each of the rapes and to two years for the indecent assault. Two years of each rape sentence were suspended for two years, provided he paid a sum of money towards a department of justice programme against the abuse of women and children.

The sentences were to run concurrently.

Bam refused Hewitt leave to appeal his conviction, but granted him leave to appeal the sentences. In doing so, Hewitt risked having a heavier sentenced imposed on him.

Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  bloemfontein  |  crime

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