Former Tennis Champion Bob Hewitt to Appeal Conviction for Rape

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Former Grand Slam doubles tennis champion Bob Hewitt plans to appeal his conviction for the rape and indecent assault of minors after a South African judge Monday sentenced him to an effective six years in jail.

Hewitt, 75, will consult with his lawyers Monday afternoon and appear in court again Tuesday, defense attorney Alwyn Griebenow said by mobile phone from Pretoria, South Africa’s capital. While Hewitt’s bail has been lengthened until tomorrow, his legal team will ask for a further extension if the application to appeal is granted, Griebenow said.

High Court Judge Bert Bam sentenced Hewitt to eight years, with two years suspended, for each of two rape offenses, and two years for an indecent assault conviction. The sentences are to run concurrently. Hewitt was also ordered to pay 100,000 rand ($8,445) to South African campaigns against sexual abuse. He was suspended from the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012 following allegations that he sexually abused girls he coached in the 1980s.

Hewitt is doing “alright” following Monday’s court appearance and sentencing, Griebenow said. While the judge said Hewitt hadn’t shown remorse, Bam took Hewitt’s age into account when sentencing him, the lawyer said.

Hewitt, who was born in Australia and played for South Africa, won 15 Grand Slam tennis titles in the 1960s and 1970s, including nine mens doubles and six mixed doubles. The first witness told the court on Feb. 9 that Hewitt sexually assaulted her 34 years ago when she was 12 years old. A second woman said he raped her in his car when she was 12. A third woman claimed Hewitt had rubbed against her inappropriately while coaching her in the 1990s.

If the defense is given leave to appeal, the next court date is likely to be months away, Griebenow said.

Hewitt was charged with rape and indecent assault in June last year. He pleaded not guilty and was convicted on all charges on March 23.