The family of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes walked out as the inquest into his death drew to a close on Friday. The batsman’s parents, brother and sister stormed from the court, angry at what they saw as a failure to tackle inconsistencies in the evidence of other players. They departed during closing comments by counsel representing Cricket Australia, Bruce Hodgkinson, who said players were honest in their testimonies. The coroner’s legal counsel also recommended a verdict of accidental death, saying there should be no ruling on whether the 25-year-old was unfairly targeted with short-pitched bowling or was sledged.
These slanderous comments … and the use of illegal deliveries in my eyes lead to a very unsafe workplace
Phillip Hughes’ father, Greg
Hughes, who played 26 Tests, died from bleeding on the brain in November 2014 after being hit on the base of the skull by a ball during a domestic Sheffield Shield match in Sydney. But his family was angered by the battery of short-pitched bowling he received before the fatal blow, saying it should have been halted. They also claim opposition fast bowler Doug Bollinger has admitted saying “I’ll kill you” to Hughes and his batting partner - although he denies the allegation. Their lawyer, Greg Melick, chastised the players for fabricating evidence, although he later amended this to accuse them of “a failure to remember or recall”. The inquest findings will be revealed next month.
The nation reeled in shock at the passing of Phillip Hughes. The reaction tells us about the affection Australia felt about Phillip and the privileged place in which cricket is held
Bruce Hodgkinson, Cricket Australia lawyer