Eight months after the passing of Richmond hardman Shane Tuck, his widow is still seeking answers from a coronial inquest and is facing massive legal costs.
Eight months after the passing of Richmond hardman Shane Tuck, his widow is still seeking answers from a coronial inquest and is facing massive legal costs.

Footballer's widow faces $200k legal bill

Shane Tuck's widow faces a $200,000 legal bill in her bid to find out the reasons behind her husband's tragic death.

Katherine Tuck, a mother of two, has engaged lawyers as one of several parties in what is expected to be a drawn-out coronial investigation.

Tuck took his own life in July last year and was later diagnosed with Stage III CTE, the ­devastating degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head knocks.

The investigation into the death of the former Richmond hardman has already taken a contentious twist with the AFL last month succeeding in its push for Victorian Coroner Simon McGregor to stand down from the probe, arguing he had a conflict of interest.

His brother works as a psychologist with the AFLPA.

Shane Tuck and wife Katherine, in 2008, with baby son Will.
Shane Tuck and wife Katherine, in 2008, with baby son Will.

 

Coroner McGregor had previously indicated his investigation would be all-encompassing, noting he had already received a report showing a correlation between CTE and participation in contact-based tackling sports.

Greg Griffin, who is representing Mrs Tuck, said the legal costs for his client - subject to a decision on the scope of the coronial investigation - was "likely to be closer to $200,000 than $150,000".

"It is not unusual in investigations of a legal nature such as this for parties to have their costs met by governing bodies, such as the AFL here, where their input assists the process and the outcomes," Griffin said.

Asked if the AFL had given any thought to assisting the Tuck family financially or meeting the costs of Mrs Tuck's representation, a league spokesman said: "The AFL is very supportive of the coronial processes and will participate in the investigation, however, we don't anticipate that we will provide funding for other parties that have been invited to take part by the coroner".

 

 

Katherine Tuck speaks at Shane Tuck’s funeral.
Katherine Tuck speaks at Shane Tuck’s funeral.

 

 

The AFL is being represented by top Melbourne law firm DLA Piper, while the Richmond Football Club and AFLPA are also parties to the proceedings.

The Tigers have been asked to submit Tuck's club medical records.

The Tuck inquiry is now being led by State Coroner John Cain, who has given all parties until April 14 to file submissions as to the scope of the investigation.

The inquest is expected to examine whether there was a link between the head ­injuries Tuck sustained during his 173-game AFL career between 2004 and 2013 and his later diag­nosis with severe CTE.

During a March 9 directions hearing (before he stood down), coroner McGregor indicated that the AFL's concussion rules would be closely scrutinised.

Tuck's CTE diagnosis came just months after the Herald Sun revealed St Kilda great Danny Frawley had been suffering from Stage II CTE when his four-wheel drive struck a tree in Millbrook, near Ballan, in September 2019.

CTE can only be diagnosed after death - symptoms include depression, anxiety, confusion and memory loss.

A mandatory 12-day rest after a player suffers a concussion has been introduced by the AFL this season.

 

* For help with emotional difficulties, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au

* For help with depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or at www.beyondblue.org.au

 

 

Originally published as Tuck's widow faces $200k legal bill



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