Bob Hewitt to go on trial next year

The former tennis champion faces three charges of rape and sexual assault.

FILE:Suellen Sheehan one of Bob Hewitt's alleged victims outside the Boksburg Magistrate's Court. Picture:Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A trial date has been set for former tennis champion Bob Hewitt who is facing charges of rape.

Hewitt is facing three charges in connection with the rape and sexual assault of girls under the age of 16 who he coached during the 1980s.

Hewitt, who came to South Africa about 30 years ago to coach tennis, appeared for the first time in the Boksburg Magistrates Court on Friday.

This comes after he failed to be present at other court appearances due to ill health.

During his court appearances last year, he denied the allegations against him,saying victims stories are false.

The case was then postponed for the centralisation of dockets because the offences occurred in different areas.

A trial date has now been set for February 2015.

Women and Men Against Child Abuse's Tania Otto says it is up to the courts to decide Hewitt's fate.

"They served him with the indictment and it's now up to the judicial system. They have a strong case and his defence attorneys will obviously try prove his innocence."