Canberra: The family of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, who died after being struck by a ball in a match two years ago, on Friday walked out in tears from the inquest into their son’s death with their lawyer accusing witnesses of giving misleading evidence to the coroner.
The five-day coronial inquest concluded in dramatic fashion when the parents and brother of Hughes walked out of the inquest during closing comments, reports Xinhua.
Earlier in the week, opposing layers and teammates both denied hearing comments such as “I’m going to kill you”, which were allegedly aimed at Hughes during the fatal match. Players also denied knowledge of a plan to bowl “bouncers” — intimidating balls aimed at a batsman’s head — at Hughes.
On Friday, the family’s counsel, Greg Melick SC, accused the players who gave evidence at the inquest of providing “pre-fabricated” evidence to the coroner.
“The family believe and we say the evidence is quite clear, there was a plan to bowl short-pitched deliveries to Phillip, there was sledging,” Melick said.
Following Melick’s closing comments, Cricket Australia’s (CA) counsel Bruce Hodgkinson SC told coroner Michael Barnes the accusations by Melick and the family was “unsubstantiated” — something which moved Hughes’ family to leave the inquest early.
“The court has heard some unsubstantiated evidence,” Hodgkinson said. “None of that should weigh on the sworn testimony of players.”
Earlier in the day, Katrina Stern SC, the counsel assisting the coroner said the death should be ruled accidental, and made seven final recommendations for the coroner to consider ahead of his final ruling, including a recommendation that CA’s staff and players learn hand signals to indicate the need for emergency assistance.
It was also recommended that professional umpires be trained in first aid, while further research into helmet and neck protection should also be undertaken.
Hughes, 25, died in hospital on November 27, 2014, two days after being hit in the neck by a ball.
The coroner is expected to hand down his findings from the inquest on November 4.