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Disciplinary Item

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Case Number ON/065/14
Name Paul March
Club Keighley
Shirt Number 14
Match Doncaster v Keighley
Competition Championship
Date 23/02/14
Incident considered Questioning the integrity of the Match Official
Decision Charge
Details of Charge / Reason for NF Rule – 15.1(f) Detail – Questioning the integrity of a Match Official Grade - C
Range of Recommended Sanctions in relation to Charged Grade* 2-3
Date of Disciplinary Committee 04/03/14
Evidence provided DVD On Field Reports
 
Decision On Charge
Player plea Not guilty by written submission
Summary of CM's submissions on the Charge / evidence Following a Match Review Panel meeting held on 27th February 2014, you are charged with misconduct for a breach of Law 15.1(f) during the above Match. The Panel reviewed an incident which occurred shortly after the final whistle of the above Match. The Panel consider that you questioned the integrity of the Match Referee. In the report the Match Referee states that you used foul and abusive language and questioned the integrity of the referee In accordance with the RFL’s On Field Sentencing Guidelines, the Panel consider that such offence is a Grade C offence (Questioning the integrity of a Match Official). If found to have committed the offence, again in accordance with the On Field Sentencing Guidelines, the normal suspension range for such offence is from a 2 match to a 3 match suspension. In addition the Tribunal has the power to impose such fine as it considers reasonable. Under the RFL Disciplinary Guidelines you are not eligible to take an Early Guilty Plea due to your previous disciplinary record.
Summary of Player's submissions on the Charge / evidence Player unable to attend in person. Pleads not guilty by e mail to the charge indicating that he did not make remarks as indicated in the charge. He states he did not move his head towards the Official as he was returning to the field. He asked that the matter be adjourned for further investigation for other people in the vicinity to be interviewed.
Decision Guilty
Reasons for Decision The tribunal initially discussed the request from Mr March for an adjournment and further investigation by the RFL. The tribunal took into account the fact that Mr March had the evidence against him on Thursday of last week (27.02.14) and had not indicated what other evidence he wanted to call. The tribunal felt that as Mr March did not attend the hearing or make himself available over the telephone they were driven to the conclusion that he had had sufficient opportunity to present his additional evidence. The tribunal denied the adjournment and decided to proceed with the case. In relation to the charge against the player the tribunal have taken into consideration the statements submitted by the Match Officials, Mr Hewer and Mr Thompson and in addition Mr Scott in which they indicate they heard the player use language that questioned the integrity of the referee as they were leaving the field of play. The tribunal have also viewed the DVD carefully this clearly shows Mr Scott turning his head back towards the player as he passed the Officials it appears in response to what he heard. Taking into account all these circumstances this tribunal are completely satisfied that the player did make foul and abusive remarks indicating the Official was a cheat and as such questioned the Officials integrity. The tribunal find the player guilty of this offence
 
Decision On Sanction (where found to have committed Misconduct)
Summary of CM's submissions on the appropriate sanction In relation to the request for adjournment the player and club were in possession of the documentation relating to this charge on Thursday of last week ( 27.02.14.)and the RFL feel that the player has had sufficient time to present details of any additional witnesses or evidence he wished to put before the tribunal
Summary of Player's submissions on the appropriate sanction
Aggravating Factors
Mitigating Factors
Reasons for Decision In deciding the appropriate sanction this tribunal feel they must take into account the players antecedents, his age and his position within the club where he is player/coach. This tribunal feel this is a position of responsibility and a position from which to lead by example. The tribunal also have to take into consideration the players antecedents. It is noted that in 2008 and 2009 he was cited for foul and abusive language. In 2011 and 2013 he was suspended and fined for foul and abusive language towards a match official. This player must realise that this type of conduct will not be tolerated and on this occasion have decided to go outside of the charging guidelines of Grade C. Taking into account all the circumstances this tribunal feel that a 4 match suspension and a £100 fine are appropriate
Suspension 4 Matches
Fine £100
Warning