Convicted child rapist and former tennis coach Bob Hewitt has one more week of freedom left until he has to report to prison.
This comes after the dismissal of his application for direct access to the Constitutional Court to apply for leave to appeal his sentence of six years’ imprisonment. Hewitt was found guilty of raping two minors in the 1980s and sexually assaulting a third girl in the 1990s.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Hewitt will have to report to the Johannesburg High Court Registrar by Tuesday, failing which he will be arrested at his daughter’s house in Pretoria, where he is believed to be staying at the moment.
Hewitt had hoped to introduce new evidence that has come to light, which his advocate believed showed proof there was collusion between the rape survivors in order to obtain Hewitt’s conviction.
Women and Men against Child Abuse founding director Miranda Friedman said it was a big day.
“South Africa today has tried to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to crime against children, particularly late disclosure,” Friedman said, elated at the news.
“We have had adult survivors [of child rape and sexual abuse] who for so long have found it incredibly difficult to stop their lives in order to bring their perpetrators to justice so for me everything here today go to this massive, massive victory for children’s rights in South Africa, and particularly goes to the three women who were so courageous and faced so much criticism.
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The 76-year-old Hewitt was convicted of rape and sexual assault in March 2015, and sentenced on May 18, 2015, after which he immediately applied for leave to appeal his sentence and conviction.
Trial Judge Bert Bam granted Hewitt leave to appeal his sentence only, which the Supreme Court subsequently denied in April.
It was as police were about to cuff Hewitt on May 20 at the Johannesburg High Court when his attorney Stephanie Green managed to obtain a hearing before Judge Brian Spilg, who believed it was in the interests of justice that Hewitt be granted bail until such time as the Constitutional Court finalised the matter.
With only the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment on Hewitt’s failed appeal and the limited emails between two of Hewitt’s rape survivors placed in the public domain by the SABC before him, Spilg said he had very little go on.
“The Constitutional Court has considered this application for direct access and has concluded that the application should be dismissed as it lacks prospects of success,” a full bench of judges at the court noted.
Hewitt is currently on R10 000 bail.