An independent Appeal Committee was convened in Dublin this evening (Tuesday, 10 January, 2006) and heard the appeal lodged by the Ospreys on behalf of their player, Gavin Henson, against the 10 weeks and two days suspension imposed by an independent Disc
iplinary Committee on 23 December, 2005, following Mr Henson's citing in the Round 4 Heineken Cup Pool 3 game against Leicester Tigers on Sunday, 18 December.
The independent Appeal Committee was chaired by Brian McLoughlin (IRFU) and also comprised Philip Orr (IRFU) and Peter Brown (SRU).
The independent Appeal Committee accepted Mr Henson's change of plea to guilty to the charge, in that he had struck an opponent with his elbow within the meaning of Law 10.4(a). The Committee then heard submissions on behalf of ERC and on behalf of the Player as to what sanction should be imposed, in accordance with the IRB regulations that apply to the Heineken Cup. The Committee first categorised the offence as in the mid-range of seriousness, and therefore determined that the appropriate entry-point for sanctions was the mid-point of the IRB tariff, ie 3 months. It determined that there were no aggravating factors and that there were various mitigating factors. It therefore determined that the appropriate sanction was a period of seven weeks and two days, ie ending on Sunday, 12 February
2006 inclusive. In relation to costs, the Committee ruled that the Ospreys should pay the costs of the hearings and ERC's costs.
An independent Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Rod McKenzie (SRU) and completed by Dr Barry O'Driscoll (IRFU) and Professor Lorne D. Crerar (SRU), had heard the citing lodged by the ERC appointed Citing Commissioner for the match, Bill Dunlop (Scotland). The independent Disciplinary Committee had found that Mr Henson had been in contravention of Law: 10.4 (a) - Punching or striking: A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).
ERC DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
(i) Citing Commissioner
a) for live televised games a Citing Commissioner will be appointed by ERC and shall be entitled to cite a Player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing Commissioner's opinion warranted the player being shown a red card.
b) Clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 12 hours of the conclusion of the match.
c) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the game to make a citing and the determination of the Citing Commissioner will be final and binding.
d) Should the Citing Commissioner decide there is a case to answer he will notify the Disciplinary Officer and the Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
e) This case will then proceed to a disciplinary hearing.
ii) Citing Officer
a) for non-televised games, where a player is cited by either of the clubs competing in the match, his case shall be immediately referred to the Citing Officer.
b) The citing must be submitted in writing and received by the Citing Officer within 50 hours of the start of the match. The Citing Officer will consider the citing and decide whether the player cited has a case to answer.
c) After this review, if the Citing Officer determines there is no case to answer, no further action will be taken. The determination of the Citing Officer will be final and binding.
d) Should the Citing Officer decide there is a case to answer he will notify the Disciplinary Officer and the Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
e) This case will then proceed to a Disciplinary Hearing.
(iii) Independent Disciplinary Committee
a) The independent Disciplinary Committee is chosen by the Chairman of Discipline, Professor Lorne Crerar.
b) The three-man panel normally consists of a legal expert (Chairman), an eminent rugby administrator and former player.
c) No member of the independent Disciplinary Committee may be chosen from a country whose club is a party to the complaint.
d) The ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, presents the case against any cited player.
(iv) Independent Appeal Committee
a) The independent Appeal Committee is chosen by the Chairman of Discipline, Professor Lorne Crerar.
b) None of the members of the independent Disciplinary Committee who issued the decision being challenged in the appeal may sit on the independent Appeal Committee.
c) The three-man panel normally consists of a legal expert (Chairman), an eminent rugby administrator and former player.