By Gavin Atkins
Now that he’s killed himself, the guilt or innocence of cricket writer Peter Roebuck might never be properly tested, but innocent people don’t usually jump from hotel windows. In law, and in every other way, Roebuck gave up the presumption of innocence when he killed himself.
Considering how the media hounded the likes of former Governor General, Peter Hollingworth – who was eventually forced to resign because, as head of the Anglican Church, he had failed to sack a priest for having sex with an underage girl – the media have so far been remarkably silent about those who have questions to answer about the trust they placed in Roebuck.
The fact that Roebuck had been found guilty of strange and perverted behaviour in 2001 was not exactly a state secret.
Some have questioned whether or not the ABC or Fairfax newspapers should have employed him – and this is debatable.
What is much more to the point is Roebuck’s role in the charity that allowed him to have close contact with many impoverished young men.
Roebuck was a founder of the LBW charity – a charity, it should not be forgotten, that has done much good work to help some poor people in Africa and the sub-continent gain university qualifications. Let’s hope that this work continues.
However, on its website, LBW has this brief statement:
The LBW Trust is greatly saddened by the tragic death of Peter Roebuck.
Peter was one of five founding directors of the Trust in 2006. He retired as a director in 2008. Peter remained a wonderful supporter of the Trust.
We offer our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
All of this sounds like the charity has suitably distanced itself from Roebuck’s unsavoury end, but it appears to have switched off all the links that provide more information about the trust, including an old annual report I accessed earlier which stated that while Roebuck retired as a Director, he continued to be actively involved with it in South Africa.
It is this active involvement with the charity that allegedly led to the alleged sexual assault.
Serious questions need to be asked about how it was decided to allow Roebuck to continue to have such intimate involvement.
Since the last time I visited the website, the charity has removed links, making it more difficult to track down information about the Board and its Patrons, but it has included some extremely high profile people, as may still be found here.