Ex-tennis star Bob Hewitt in last ditch attempt to avoid jail

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Former tennis champion and convicted child rapist Bob Hewitt had his bail extended on Monday pending a last-ditch attempt to have his six-year jail term reduced by South Africa's Constitutional Court, media reported.

He appealed to the Constitutional Court, the highest in the country, after his appeal was turned down by the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this month.

Australia-born Hewitt, 76, was convicted last year of raping two girls aged 12 and 13 in the early 1980s, and of indecently assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 1994.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Eye Witness News reported that the High Court in Johannesburg granted an order for his bail to be extended.

The former Gram Slam doubles champion who was born in Dubbo, Australia has lived in South Africa for most of his life.

Hewitt's name was removed from the International Tennis Hall of Fame after a series of sexual abuse allegations against him came out in 2013.

No date had been set for the Constitutional Court hearing.