Bob Hewitt to remain in jail

Rapist and former tennis grand slam winner Bob Hewitt leaves the North Gauteng High Court. (Herman Verwey, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)
Rapist and former tennis grand slam winner Bob Hewitt leaves the North Gauteng High Court. (Herman Verwey, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

Convicted rapist and former tennis star Bob Hewitt is to remain behind bars after the Correctional Supervision and Parole Review Board (CSPRB) reviewed and set aside his parole placement on Friday.

Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the decision was based on the fact that the parole board did not adhere to Section 75(4) of the Correctional Services Act, 111 of 1998, read together with Section 299 of the Criminal Procedure Act, when it initially considered his release on parole.

"The CSPRB stressed the need for the victims of crime to be engaged in the restorative justice process," said Nxumalo.

He said the matter would have to be re-enrolled with the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board, once all the recommendations of the review board have been considered.

On Friday, the board sat at St Albans Correctional Centre in Port Elizabeth on Friday, where Hewitt is serving his sentence. 

Hewitt, aged 79, was sentenced to six years in jail in 2016 for the rape of two young women and the sexual assault of another, who he coached in the 1980s and 1990s.

At an earlier news briefing Judge Siraj Desai, who heads the review board, refused to talk about the merits or demerits of the matter because he said their decision was based on judicial processes. 

He said various criteria are used to determine the outcome of a parole application, such as the age, health and behaviour of an offender. 

Desai added that it was not often that they had a situation in which an offender at Hewitt's age committed such serious crimes.

Two lawyers representing the three survivors were among those who made submissions on Friday. 

Olivia Jasriel, Theresa Tolken and one named AW, (because her identity cannot be published) were about 11 and 12 at the time Hewitt raped and molested them. 

Speaking to News24, following Desai's briefing, Tania Koen on behalf of Jasriel and AW; and Olga de Wet, on behalf of Theresa Tolken, said age should not be a consideration in Hewitt's case. 

"His age was already considered when he was sentenced. Why should it be dragged into this matter now, again?

"When our clients were raped they were 11 and 12 years old. He was a young man in his 40s when he committed the crimes," said Koen.

She added that her clients would never be released from their horrible experiences.

"While he has served three of his six-year sentence, his victims have been sentenced to life imprisonment," she said.

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