Collusion claims may help Bob Hewitt's defence

Bob Hewitt may have the opportunity to appeal his conviction if his victims colluded before his trial.

FILE: Former tennis champion Bob Hewitt was found guilty in March this year, on two counts of rape and one of sexual assault. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

PRETORIA - Convicted rapist Bob Hewitt may have an opportunity to appeal his conviction, if it turns out his victims colluded before his trial.

The SABC reported this morning that it is in possession of documents which prove that the three women, who testified against him, had been communicating extensively before the trial.

Hewitt was found guilty in March this year, on two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.

He's now appealing his six-year jail sentence.

The documents, which apparently showed that his victims colluded before his trial, will need to be authenticated.

They are believed to consist of emails that allegedly show how Suellen Sheehan, Theresa Tolken and another victim discussed aspects of the case before testifying that they were abused by Hewitt more than 30 years ago, when he was their tennis coach.

Criminal law expert Cliff Alexander explained that these documents may open up new opportunities for Hewitt's defence.

"If the documentation is authenticated, the defence could petition a chief justice for leave to appeal."

The NPA however says there is no merit to these allegations and has defended prosecutor Carina Coetzee, saying there is no way she would have allowed to see each other's statements.