An inquest into the supposed suicide of renowned cricket writer Peter Roebuck, in 2011, is set to be reopened, it has been reported by his former employer. England born Roebuck, 55, was in South Africa for the Test series between the Proteas and Australia when he reportedly plunged to his death from the Southern Sun Hotel in Cape Town. The local police said he leapt out of a sixth floor window after two officers arrived to detain him over a claim of sexual assault by a Zimbabwean man.
His family, however, have questioned the account and his employer, Australia’s Fairfax Media, have reported that the investigations into the death would restart.
“There are many questions regarding the circumstances of his death which have to be probed,” the family’s lawyer George van Niekerk told Fairfax. “The reopened inquest will hopefully allow all the unresolved issues to be fully ventilated.”
David Hood, the lawyer who represented Roebuck, added in a statement to England’s Mail on Sunday that “it is important to all internationally recognised systems of justice that justice is not only done, but is seen to be done”.
“That could never have been with the death of Peter Roebuck, unless and until the circumstances of his death were examined at a legally convened hearing held in public with witnesses called and questioned under oath,” he added.
Roebuck’s family were not invited for the closed hearing in Cape Town in 2013, which upheld the police account of events. They have been trying to have the ruling quashed since.
Fairfax, who were Roebuck’s employers since 1984, has previously claimed the family had been denied access to any forensic evidence from the hotel, along with a police toxicology report and fingerprints from the window. They believe the fingerprints must be produced to prove he opened the window amid doubts that the Englishman would have been able to do so and jump in presence of a police officer.
Roebuck, a former Somerset captain in the English county, played 335 first-class matches before making a career writing about the sport. He was regarded by many as the finest cricket writer of his generation.