Former grand slam tennis doubles champion Bob Hewitt at a Johannesburg court Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Hewitt, who is on trial for rape and sexual assault of minors in the country, has pleaded not guilty . (AP Photo)
Former grand slam tennis doubles champion Bob Hewitt at a Johannesburg court Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Hewitt, who is on trial for rape and sexual assault of minors in the country, has pleaded not guilty . (AP Photo)

Accuser’s mom not on Hewitt’s side

By Naledi Shange Time of article published Feb 17, 2015

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Johannesburg - Despite not believing her daughter's claims that Bob Hewitt raped her, Judy Sheehan said she was not siding with the former Grand Slam tennis champion.

“I am not here to defend Mr Hewitt but to defend the truth as I know it,” Judy Sheehan told the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, on Tuesday.

“It is for the court to judge Mr Hewitt. I'm here to defend the truth,” Judy Sheehan said during cross-examination by prosecutor Carina Coetzee.

Coetzee put it to her that her daughter Suellen Sheehan had told her that Hewitt raped her.

“She never told me,” Judy Sheehan replied.

Coetzee said Judy Sheehan's denial was a self-defence mechanism.

“You feel guilty for not doing anything,” said Coetzee.

“I am not one of those parents who would shy away from accepting child rape,” Judy Sheehan replied.

She claimed she would never have condoned it and, had it happened, she would never have allowed it to proceed.

The Sheehans' relationship with their daughter was fine until five-and-a-half years ago when they decided to stop supporting her financially.

Suellen Sheehan, who sat at the back of the court, looked at her mother and smiled. She occasionally wrote notes in a book on her lap during her mother's testimony.

Judy Sheehan said she was not friends with the Hewitts. They had never visited each other.

Sheehan claimed Hewitt raped her in 1982 in his car after fetching her from school for tennis practise. She was 12 at the time.

Another woman has testified that Hewitt raped her in the 1980s. A third woman said Hewitt sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

Hewitt, now 75, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Sheehan's father Michael will testify next.

Sapa

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