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South African court grants ex-tennis star Bob Hewitt bail to appeal rape sentence

Former Grand Slam doubles champion Bob Hewitt looks on ahead of court proceedings at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg February 10, 2015. ...

Former Grand Slam doubles champion Bob Hewitt looks on ahead of court proceedings at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files
Former Grand Slam doubles champion Bob Hewitt looks on ahead of court proceedings at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African high court on Monday granted disgraced former grand slam doubles champion Bob Hewitt bail while his lawyers appeal a six year sentence for rape and sexual assault handed to the former tennis star in 2015.

Hewitt, 76, had his challenge against the sentence dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier in the month, and is now heading to the Constitutional Court to argue for the sentence to be reduced.

Hewitt's lawyers had argued that the he suffered from ill-health, and also pointed to the length of time between when the offences were committed and the trial. The allegations first surfaced in 2011.

Hewitt was a doubles and mixed doubles champion at all four grand slam events, winning seven Wimbledon titles. He was expelled earlier this year from the International Tennis Hall of Fame following his conviction.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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