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Rediff News  All News  » Cricket » Hookes "threw punches" before fatal fall

Hookes "threw punches" before fatal fall

November 15, 2004 16:50 IST

Former Australian Test batsman David Hookes threw two punches at the hotel bouncer accused of his manslaughter before being knocked down and suffering fatal head injuries, a court heard on Monday.

Hookes had been drinking with friends including Test player Darren Lehmann at the Beaconsfield Hotel in St Kilda on January 18 when the incident happened. Hookes, 48, died the next day.

Lehmann, who is set to play in Thursday's first Test against New Zealand in Brisbane, told Melbourne magistrates court on Monday he could not recall Hookes being argumentative with the staff, an Australian Associated Press report said.

Hotel security man Zdavko Micevic is charged with the manslaughter and assault of Hookes. Defence barrister Terry Forrest told the court his client would give evidence that Hookes threw two punches at Micevic before he retaliated.

Lehmann, 34, told the court he had drunk three beers and a vodka in the pub after consuming three more beers earlier in the day after a cricket match. Lehmann also said he did not believe Hookes had drunk too much on the night.

The committal hearing continues this week in Melbourne while Lehmann is expected to rejoin the Australia camp in Brisbane for training on Tuesday.

Coach John Buchanan said of Lehmann: "He's certainly stronger for what has happened. Importantly at least it has been put to rest today so then he can concentrate on the build-up to the Test match."

Hookes was a popular left-hander who played in 23 Tests from 1977 to 1985 and worked as a media commentator and as coach of Victoria after his retirement. His funeral at Adelaide Oval on January 27 attracted an estimated 15,000 mourners.

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