NewsNews

Former Grand Slam doubles tennis champion convicted of rape and sexual assault in South Africa

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Bob Hewitt
Bob Hewitt

A former Grand Slam doubles tennis champion has been convicted of rape and sexual assault in South Africa.

Judge Bert Bam said he is satisfied that the two women who had accused Australian-born Bob Hewitt  of rape, and a third woman who had accused him of sexual assault, were telling the truth.

The charges stemmed from events in the 1980s and 1990s, when Hewitt, who is now 75, coached the women as young girls.

Hewitt had denied all three charges at the high court in Johannesburg.

The judge said the striking similarities among the three womens’ testimonies showed that Hewitt’s conduct was calculated.

Judge Bam ordered that Hewitt should be taken into custody.

Hewitt won nine Grand Slam doubles and six Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in the 1960s and 1970s. He also reached the semi-finals of the men’s singles at the Australian Open three times, and won the Davis Cup with South Africa in 1974 after settling there.

The prosecution and defence both presented closing arguments at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Hewitt had pleaded not guilty to all charges. His doctor said last year that Hewitt remained ill after suffering a stroke in 2010 and a heart attack in 2011.