Bob Hewitt’s lawyers to appeal rape conviction
The lawyers are reacting to claims by the SABC that Hewitt’s victims colluded before his rape trial.
JOHANNESBURG - Bob Hewitt's lawyers have now confirmed they intend bringing an application to appeal his rape conviction.
They've reacted to an South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) report in which the news agency claimed it has documents that prove his three victims colluded before his trial.
In March, Hewitt was found guilty on two counts of rape and one of sexual assault after the victims testified that he abused them more than 30 years ago, when he was their tennis coach.
Hewitt's lawyer Johan Engelbrecht says he has not yet seen the documents that the SABC claims will prove the victims communicated extensively about the case before Hewitt went to trial.
But he says he plans to bring an application to the Supreme Court of Appeal for leave to appeal Hewitt's conviction.
He says if the documents prove collusion it could have a material effect on the verdict.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) however says there's no basis to these allegations.
Yesterday, The NPA's Luvuyo Mfaku said, "Our prosecutor prosecuted the matter. She never allowed any witness to have access to the docket. She is an experienced prosecutor and has been prosecuting sexual offence cases for years."
NGO, Women and Men Against Child Abuse says this is just another tactic by the defence to keep Hewitt out of jail, and it stands by the victims in the case.
It says it's not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to consult each other, but the NPA must investigate if e-mail correspondence between victims of the tennis legend were hacked.
The NGO's director Miranda Friedman says the NPA must launch a full probe.
"The NPA is looking into this right now. If they have, in any way, breached any communication laws to get these emails, the NPA will prosecute because there are also rules for them."
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