Coroner to examine media response to cricketer Phillip Hughes’ death

Phillip Hughes died in 2014.The NSW Coroner will consider handing down recommendations on how the media can respect the privacy and interests of grieving families after an upcoming inquest into the death of cricketer Phillip Hughes.

State Coroner Michael Barnes will examine the death of Hughes in a week-long inquest beginning in Sydney on October 10.

Hughes, who was 25, was hit on the neck by a cricket ball during a Sheffield Shield match in November 2014. He died in hospital two days later.

At a directions hearing on Friday, the court heard the inquest would examine the cause of his death and factors surrounding it, including the nature of play on the afternoon Hughes died, the response times of ambulances, and whether protective gear could have prevented his death or minimised any injury.

The Hughes family have engaged legal representation, as have Cricket Australia, NSW Ambulance, The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust and NSW Police.

Counsel assisting the coroner Peter Aitken said NSW Ambulance had yet to respond to a request for information as to improvements made to its procedures since Hughes’ death.

Mr Barnes ordered the service to provide the material by July 1.

The inquest will also examine “the appropriateness of the media coverage of Phillip Hughes’ fatal injury having regard to the interests of Phillip Hughes and his family”.

Representatives from media organisations including Fairfax Media, the publisher of this website, have been invited to give their opinions on whether there are lessons to be learnt from Hughes’ death that will influence the way media reports tragedies in the future.

The inquest will examine if it is possible to balance the public interest of such a newsworthy event with the feelings of a victim’s family members.

The cricketer’s family were distressed by footage broadcast repeatedly following the incident ,showing him being hit by the ball and collapsing.

Mr Aitken said the brief of evidence would be available to the parties by July 8 and a witness list will be circulated in August.

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