Bob Hewitt seeks bail extension as he heads to Constitutional Court

JUNE 20, 2016

Convicted rapist and former tennis champion, Bob Hewitt, who resides on a farm outside Port Elizabeth, is on Monday expected to appear in the High Court in Johannesburg to begin the process of taking his case to the Constitutional Court and also to extend his bail after the Supreme Court of Appeal early this month dismissed his application to appeal his six-year jail sentence.

Hewitt, a former Grand Slam champion, was found guilty of raping Theresa "Twiggy" Tolken and Suellen Sheehan in the 1980s and of sexually assaulting a third woman, who may not be named, in the 1990s. He was their tennis coach at the time.

The 75 year-old was sentenced, in effect, to six years in jail. However, the High Court gave him leave to appeal his sentence but not his conviction. 

Members of the advocacy group, Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), were expected to gather outside the High Court to oppose Hewitt's latest application. The organisation would demand that Hewitt serves his sentence immediately.

Besides his jail sentence, Hewitt was also ordered to pay R100 000 to the justice department to support anti-abuse initiatives. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reported that Hewitt was also ordered to pay $1.2 million to Heather Crowe Connor, a woman from the US state of Massachusetts, whom he allegedly sexually abused in the 1970s. He was also her tennis coach.

He is currently out on a bail of R10 000.

High hopes dashed

Last year, Hewitt's lawyer, Alwyn Griebeno, told the SABC that new evidence could sway the SCA to reconsider and permit Hewitt to appeal the conviction.  

Legal expert Lleyellyn Curlewis reportedly told the public broadcaster that if indeed the contents of the document were proven to be true, the three women could possibly be charged with perjury.

News24 reported that the Women and Men Against Child Abuse group, which had called for justice to be served against Hewitt, rejected the allegations of collusion.

It said the report was part of a tactic by the former tennis star’s lawyers to discredit his victims.

EWN reported that National Prosecuting Authority had also rejected the claims, stating there was no basis for the allegations.