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Friday, 19 October, 2001, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Cricketer sentenced for caning trainees
Peter Roebuck
Peter Roebuck received a suspended sentence
Former Somerset cricket captain Peter Roebuck has been given a suspended jail sentence after admitting caning three young cricketers he had offered to coach.

Roebuck, 45, of Exmouth in Devon, pleaded guilty to three charges of common assault involving three South African teenagers between 1 April and 31 May, 1999.

He had pleaded not guilty to three counts of causing actual bodily harm, which was accepted by the prosecution.

Roebuck was sentenced to four months in jail for each count, with the sentences suspended for two years, at Taunton Crown Court.

He was also ordered to pay 820 costs.

I misjudged the mood and that was my mistake and my responsibility and I accept that

Peter Roebuck
Judge Graham Hume Jones told Roebuck he had abused his power and influence over the boys, who were far from home and far from friends and family.

The court heard how Roebuck caned the young cricketers on the buttocks after they failed to meet his standards during coaching sessions at his former home in Taunton.

Roebuck met the three young cricketers, Keith Whiting, Reginald Keats and Henk Lindeque, who were all 19 at the time of the offences, while working as a commentator abroad.

He invited the men to live at his home near Taunton and promised to coach them.

'House rules'

He said he warned each young man beforehand that he would use corporal punishment if they failed to obey his "house rules".

He also said he thought they were from a culture in which corporal punishment was accepted.

The offences came to light when one of the cricketers showed the marks Roebuck had caused to the secretary of Bishop's Lydeard Cricket Club, who passed the matter to the police.

Paul Mendelle, defending, said Roebuck was a "complex man" who set high standards for himself and expected them of others, and who had used corporal punishment only to encourage the teenagers.

Accepted decision

Mr Mendelle said more than 20 other promising young cricketers had stayed at Roebuck's house while receiving coaching and had never complained about any inappropriate behaviour.

Roebuck, now a cricket journalist and commentator, maintained that he had never detected any unhappiness among the men at the time of the incidents.

Roebuck said: "Obviously I misjudged the mood and that was my mistake and my responsibility and I accept that."

He is now to return to Australia to resume his media career.

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