The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC accepted a guilty plea from Ben McCalman of the Force for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
McCalman has been suspended from all forms of the game for two weeks up to and including 29 March 2014 which rules him out this week’s match against the Chiefs alone as the Force have a bye in Round 7.
The incident occurred in the 73rd minute of the match between the Highlanders and the Force at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday 15 March 2014.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC assessed the case and in his finding, Mr Davidson ruled the following,”After reviewing the video footage and hearing from the player and his representatives, including counsel Mr McCarthy, and obtaining their views on the various mitigating factors involved in the incident, I proceeded on the basis required of a Duty Judicial Officer that breach was established.
“I considered that the potential for harm was significant as the tackled player was lifted high off the ground and tipped forcefully with no attempt to arrest or mitigate his fall. The tackler has the responsibility not to place the tackled player at such risk. It was only because the tackled player was able to break the fall with his arm, and there was no injury, that a lower end entry point for sanction was warranted under the Rules.
“Based on the acceptance of the indicated sanction, and the player’s excellent disciplinary and playing record, a discount from the lower end entry point of four weeks to a two week suspension was imposed up to and including 29 March 2014. This includes the next Super Rugby match for the Force and a Perth Premier Grade match that the player was scheduled to play during the Force’s bye week.”
All SANZAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to a Duty Judicial Officer hearing to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the DJO.