Hughes batting partner to front inquest

Oct 11, 2016, 01:42
Hughes batting partner to front inquest

Footage of the blow and Hughes' collapse was played in court, with some of his family leaving the room.

Both were shedding tears and comforting one another before the first session of this inquest had even started.

"(Hughes's) death was a bad accident, but it doesn't mean cricket can't be made safer", Mr Barnes said.

Hughes's sister Megan and father Greg briefly left the NSW Coroner's Court in Sydney on Monday as footage was aired of the fateful ball delivered at 2.23pm on November 25, 2014, although his brother Jason and mother Virginia remained in court. He collapsed nearly immediately and died in hospital two days later.

Nobody is looking for more answers in Court 5.1 this week than the Hughes family, but it was clear from the outset on Monday morning that nothing else or more could've been done to save their boy. Inevitable. Such a solemn adjective.

Hughes was hit at the base of the skull on November 25, 2014, and succumbed to injuries from bleeding on the brain.

Barnes said the objective of the inquest was "not to lay blame".

In her opening address, Ms Stern said Hughes had been playing well on the day he was hit.

NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes said cricket carried an inherent risk, and the player's death was "completely unexpected and shocking".

It was alleged, in the examination of detective senior constable Jay Tonkin of NSW Police by the Hughes' family's legal representative Greg Melick SC, that Bollinger had uttered the words "I'm going to kill you", something the bowler strongly denied with the words, "I know in my heart I didn't say that". However, Haddin said he had no recollection of Bollinger sledging Hughes and the field change was done only to reduce the scoring rate.

This prompted disbelief and anger in the front row from the Hughes family, who shook their heads and scoffed.

"Was there any play that afternoon that you would consider inconsistent with the spirit of the game?" counsel assisting the coroner, Kristina Stern, SC, asked.

"It just happened to be that there was two ex-NSW players out there". "There was nothing different to the game that I had played for many years".

"But that does not mean that cricket can not be made safer", Coroner Michael Barnes said at the opening of the inquest, according to Reuters.

On one side stands a grieving family wanting answers.

"Cricket is not generally seen as unsafe or violent". It is a heady mix of skill and intimidation and machismo and the boundaries are always pushed.

When questioned if there was a deliberate plan to target Hughes with short deliveries and intimidatory tactics, Haddin replied on the negative.

David Warner, who was one of the New South Wales players on the field that day, submitted a written statement to the court, saying the team had devised a tactic to bowl over the wicket at the Hughes's leg stump to force him on to the back foot in an attempt to get him out hooking or pulling.

Haddin didn't recall this.

The inquest will focus on the factors surrounding Hughes' death, including the number of bouncers delivered at him. It was then as it is now: a freak accident.

"We won't be providing a running commentary dealing with specific issues through the week, but we do hope something good comes from this process".

The four-day inquest will look at how Hughes was fatally injured, the match itself and whether it increased the risk of injury and whether or not a protective helmet could have reduced the risk of Hughes' death. No bowlers had been warned for unsafe or unfair bowling, or for continually bowling short at batsmen.

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