SANZAR Appeal Committee chaired by Nicholas Davidson has allowed an appeal by Adam Byrnes against the finding that he breached Law 10.4(m) by making contact with the eye area of another player, in circumstances constitutes dangerous play.
A Judicial Officer held such a breach occurred, but expressly rejected the allegation that this was "eye gouging" or otherwise an intentional attack. He held that the breach was the product of dangerous play involving a headlock, which constituted recklessness as to whether Byrnes made contact with the eye area.
On Appeal it was contended that the citing as originally detailed could not have been upheld on the facts, and the Judicial Officer was wrong to amend the detail of the citing.
The citing alleged an attack to the eyes as the players were getting up after clearing out. The Judicial Officer considered video footage before the players fell to ground, not as they were getting up and that founded his decision. The Appeal Committee rejected the submission that the judicial process was confined to the timing alleged in the citing and held there was no unfairness in the process adopted.
The Appeal Committee then addressed the allegation of breach as a re-hearing. It brought to account the evidence available, including extensive but inconclusive video coverage. Applying the standard of proof required under the Rules, the Appeal Committee concluded that it could not be said that a breach of the Laws occurred to the requisite standard as an act of recklessness which involved contact with the eye area. This was a serious allegation and must be clearly established on the balance of probabilities.
In the circumstances, the Appeal was allowed and the sanction was set aside.
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