'It's just a constant rerape' - Bob Hewitt victim on parole decision

2019-09-16 08:59
Australian-born former tennis champion Bob Hewitt.

Australian-born former tennis champion Bob Hewitt. (Gallo Images / The Times / Moeletsi Mabe)

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One of the rape victims of former tennis star Bob Hewitt says she was devastated and angry when she heard the news that he was set to be released on parole on September 23, without any consultation with her or other victims.  

Speaking to Stephen Grootes on SAfm on Monday morning, Olivia Jasriel said due process had not been followed and that his three victims were not informed that he was up for parole. 

Last week, the lawyer of one of Hewitt's victims was informed that a decision to release Hewitt was taken after the parole board sat on August 23.

He was due for release on parole on September 23.

READ | Correctional services board grants convicted rapist Bob Hewitt parole, survivors to seek urgent review

Hewitt, 79, was convicted of the rape of two young women and sexually assaulting another who he coached in the 1980s and 1990s.

He was found guilty of rape in 2015 and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Backtracked on parole

Following an outcry over Hewitt's pending release, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) backtracked and its spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the parole board had not decided whether he would be released or not. 

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

On Sunday, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola instructed the national commissioner of correctional supervision, Arthur Fraser, to take the decision to place Hewitt on parole on review.

READ | Mandy Wiener: Hewitt parole fiasco demonstrates how the system fails victims

"Upon studying the Correctional Supervision and Parole Review Board's (CSPB) decision, the minister noted with grave concern the lack of participation by the victims of crimes in the parole consideration process," Lamola's office said in a statement. 

"It came as a huge shock," Jasriel told Grootes. "Over and above everything, after we had been told that he had been granted parole, they (the DCS) then lied and said he hadn't been granted parole. And then, less than 24 hours later, a letter arrived to one of the victims saying he had been granted parole..." 

Jasriel said she was yet to receive any communication from the department. 

'A constant rerape'

"It's disgusting the way we've been treated. There's something that's just not adding up here."

Recalling giving testimony against Hewitt, Jasriel said "they might as well have raped me during the trial. And [since then] it's just a constant rerape. It's just a constant retraumatisation. I haven't had an opportunity to heal. Every time I feel I'm getting over it, or I'm getting better, then I'm blindsided again."

Jasriel welcomed Lamola's intervention. "I am so grateful to him; but again, we should not have had to go through this."

She said not everybody has her resources, suggesting that many similar perpetrators could be released, posing a threat to their victims. 

"I don't believe sexual offenders can be rehabilitated," Jasriel told Grootes. "[Hewitt] should have been given his full six-year sentence and he should think about what he did. He has shown absolutely zero remorse. He has shattered my family, and he's worried about what I did to his family? I didn't do that to his family - he did it to his family.

'I'd rather be dead'

"My immediate thought is you're sitting on your stoep one afternoon having a cup of tea and next thing you've got a bullet in your head because your perpetrator has [had] a couple of years to plot revenge against you. That is sadly a reality," Jasriel said. 

"I would rather be dead than have to go through what I've been through over and over again."

Jasriel said she and another victim were willing to testify at a parole board hearing.

"Two years against my lifetime in 'prison' is not okay."

Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  crime  |  rape

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