According to the police, Roebuck had committed suicide in November 2011 after jumping from the balcony of his hotel room. He had been arrested on the charges of sexual assault shortly before his death.
“From the outset, the family and supporters of the late Peter Roebuck have put their faith in the legal system of South Africa. 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,” said English Barrister David Hood who represented Roebuck seven years ago
Facebook messages between Roebuck and Itai Gondo, a Zimbabwean man who claimed Roebuck had sexually assaulted him, were never found on the hard drive of Roebuck’s laptop. Gondo’s whereabouts are not known.
Roebuck had also sustained injuries on his head and lower body, with doubts being raised whether they were consistent with the fall or not. How he jumped from a hotel window without a police officer noticing it was also doubted.
“Ever since, our clients have sought an open inquest to allow the circumstances of his death to be examined at a public hearing, as is the norm when a prisoner meets a violent death in police custody,” said George van Niekerk at South African law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs.
South Africa’s director of public prosecutions in Western Province will now reopen the case, though the date for inquest has still not been announced.
First Published: October 14, 2018, 3:21 PM IST