Fairweather had bad temper, inquest hears

2012-06-14 21:36
Cape Town - Former Western Province cricketer Luke Fairweather had a violent temper, an inquest into his death heard in Cape Town on Thursday.

"I knew that his anger was no secret, and he admitted to me that he had a problem," Fairweather’s close friend of 10 years, Jeremy Hindley, 68, of Hermanus, said.

He was testifying at the hearing in the Wynberg District Court, before magistrate June Snayer.

Hindley had been with Fairweather at the Newlands Cricket Stadium in January 2011, when Fairweather was shot dead, allegedly by City of Cape Town senior traffic officer Ian Sinclair, in a confrontation over a parking ticket issued to Fairweather's mother, Margaret.

Sinclair initially faced a murder charge over the incident, but the criminal proceedings were converted into an inquest. The murder charge was withdrawn pending the outcome of the inquest.

At Thursday's proceedings, Hindley, in a wheelchair, said he was disabled from motor neuron disease, and that Fairweather’s mother had fetched them at the stadium.

For Hindley's convenience, the mother had parked illegally near the entrance to the stadium, for which Sinclair had issued her a ticket. Hindley told the inquest how Fairweather had gotten into an altercation with Sinclair about the parking ticket.

Hindley, was questioned by Sinclair's lawyer John Riley, said he was aware Luke Fairweather had a violent temper.

"I heard rumours about it, and all I know is that he was suspended from a golf club due to the anger issue. He smashed up the green with his golf club.

"Myself, I am a recovered alcoholic; I once had a problem with alcohol, but he was a teetotaller. We discussed the fact that he needed to work on his problem, just as I had to work on mine."

Riley asked if it would be fair to say Fairweather started the argument.

"I do not know. He certainly started the conversation with Sinclair. It was my impression that Fairweather was irritated by the fact that his mother had been unfairly issued with a ticket.

"I decided to keep out of it, and to rather sit chatting with his mother in the car. It didn’t cross my mind to stop Fairweather [from] accosting the traffic officer."

Riley said his instructions were that Fairweather had sworn at Sinclair in the confrontation.

Hindley replied: "I didn't hear any swearing, but I cannot dispute that."

Asked if he would accost a traffic officer over a parking ticket, Hindley said: "I probably would. I wouldn't have gone specifically to argue with the officer, but I would have gone to explain what was going on, and that she was not causing any obstruction. It was sad to see the deceased getting out of his car in a violent manner."

Hindley said the noise of the confrontation was "extremely aggressive", and that they struck the back of the nearby hatchback car with such force that the impact shattered the rear window.

Asked by the court whether it was reasonable for Fairweather to have confronted Sinclair about a parking ticket, Hindley said: "Yes, because it was such an extraordinary set of circumstance. It was unreasonable to have issued the ticket."

The inquest continues on 27 August.

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