Bob Hewitt gets parole after less than four years

‘SOLID SUPPORT SYSTEM’: Former tennis star Bob Hewitt, who was sentenced to six years in jail for preying on young girls he was coaching, will be released on parole
‘SOLID SUPPORT SYSTEM’: Former tennis star Bob Hewitt, who was sentenced to six years in jail for preying on young girls he was coaching, will be released on parole
Image: ALON SKUY

Former tennis hero Bob Hewitt has been granted parole after serving less than four years of a  six-year sentence for rape and sexual assault.

A once renowned name on the international tennis circuit, Hewitt, 80, was convicted in March 2015 of raping two young female tennis pupils, and sexually assaulting a third, in the 1980s and 1990s while he was their coach. n May 2015, Hewitt was sentenced to six years in prison but was only jailed in September 2016 after an unsuccessful Constitutional Court appeal.

To date Hewitt has served three years, six months and 22 days of his six-year sentence.

He is expected to be released on parole on April 24 after his hearing before the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board (CSPB) on Tuesday.

The parole board found that Hewitt, who lived in Addo before being jailed, was eligible for parole, had a solid support system at home and should be released.

Hewitt was granted parole with stringent conditions which were not immediately available.

A statement issued by the department of correctional services said Hewitt had been placed on parole after his application was approved by the parole board of the St Albans management area.

According to the statement, Hewitt was  classified s a first-time offender and had been placed on parole in line with Section 73 of the Correctional Services Act, which determines the minimum periods of sentence to be served before possible parole placement may be considered.

“He also participated in relevant correctional programmes and was assessed by special services experts which, amongothers, include social workers and psychologists, to determine his suitability for parole placement,” the statement read.

It said in line with the provisions of both the Criminal Procedure Act and Correctional Services Act, victims were invited and some also participated in the deliberations of the parole board, among them Olivia Jasriel, 50.

Hewitt coached Jasriel during the 1980s and raped her when she was 12.

Speaking to The Herald after the announcement, Tania Koen, lawyer for one of Hewitt’s victims, said the matter could still be taken on review, but this would be up to the victims.

“I have always prepared them that at some point [Hewitt] would get parole.

“Though not entitled to it he is still eligible,” Koen said.

In October 2019,  Hewitt had his parole placement reviewed and set aside after initially being placed on parole on August 23.

At the time it emerged that two of his victims, including Jasriel, had not been advised that a parole board hearing was going to be held.

According to the Correctional Services Act, a victim is entitled to make representations to the parole board and should be notified when and where such a hearing is taking place.

This time Jasriel had been given the opportunity to make representations.

In an interview with The Herald before the parole hearing she said it was a very frustrating process.

“It is not just the system, it is the culture of the victim lying until proven otherwise,” Jasriel had said.

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