Sentencing of ex-tennis star Bob Hewitt in rape cases postponed

Sentencing of ex-tennis star Bob Hewitt in rape cases postponed

PRETORIA CENTRAL, South Africa - A South African court Friday postponed to next month the sentencing of Australian-born former tennis Grand Slam champion Bob Hewitt.

Hewitt, 75, was in March found guilty of raping two young girls he was coaching in the early 1980s, and assaulting a third woman.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Velekhaya Mgobhozi said the state was ready to proceed, but defence asked the High Court in the capital Pretoria for a postponement.

"The defence brought forward an application for a postponement because they wanted to bring forward more evidence," said Mgobhozi.

The case is now set down for May 18-19.

Mgobhozi said the defence wanted to present a criminologist's report to court.

"We have no idea what that report is going to say," he added.

Hewitt had pleaded not guilty to the two charges of rape and one of indecent assault, which were brought against him by three women in 2013.

The women testified that the former champion had assaulted them during private tennis lessons when they were in their early teens.

Hewitt won numerous Grand Slam doubles titles during his career in the 1960s and 1970s and was named to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992.

But his name was removed from the hall of fame in 2012, following sexual abuse allegations.

Hewitt was born in Dubbo, Australia but has spent much of his life in South Africa.

Claims of sexual abused against hims had also surfaced in the United States where he once lived.

Rape cases dating back decades are rare in South African courts.

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