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ex-lucy
12-11-07, 13:11
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/7090654.stm

was it right?

Cymro
12-11-07, 14:11
I'm sure most of you have seen this:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/7090654.stm

Davet
12-11-07, 14:11
If the rugby pitch, soccer pitch, hockey field or tiddlywinks arena is withn the Uk then UK law applies, and clearly takes precedence over any governing body's regulations. (we always say Rugby Laws, but they are not equivalent to the Law of the land).

If a criminal act takes place, which it seems is what happened, then the Law has every right to act.

By taking part in a game of rugby you opt out from the Law of the land to an extent, but are entitled to expect that the game is played within the Laws of rugby.

Acts of thuggery are not within rugby's laws.

Pablo
12-11-07, 14:11
Unforunately, there's insufficient detail in the article to know the full circumstances. However:


He described Mr Howells' permanent injuries as "cosmetic" and said that he had returned to playing the game.

This suggests that a jail term is something of an over-reaction...

cymrubach
12-11-07, 14:11
Acts of thuggery are not within rugby's laws.

Totaly aggree, if the same thing happened on a Saturday night in the local pub you would be locked up that night, and expect a custodial sentance later.....

See article below from last weeks paper on another similar case where a rugby player got away with a much lighter sentance when found guilty of GBH on the pitch and in the same court but different judge, not happy.....

SENTENCE INCREASE FOR 'VIOLENT' RUGBY PLAYER
Be the first reader to comment on this story
DAVID O'CALLAGHAN
POSTNEWS@SWWMEDIA.CO.UK

09:00 - 08 November 2007



A Rugby player from Swansea who deliberately booted an opponent in the face has had his sentence increased by a judge.Scott Paul Watkins was ordered back to Swansea Crown Court after breaching a community penalty imposed on him for the "gratuitous" attack.

Watkins, now aged 19, was playing for Dunvant when he seriously injured victim John Rhys Jones during a youth match in Llandovery in September last year.

During the second half of the game, he ran towards the 16-year-old Llandovery player, who was on the ground, and kicked him in the face, fracturing his eye socket and nose.



Watkins, of Catherine Street, was given a community sentence last July after pleading guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm in the incident.

On that occasion he was put on probation for 18 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid community work.

He was also told to pay 1,000 compensation to his victim.

But yesterday the Swansea Institute student was ordered back to court for breaching the sentence.

Nicola Preece, for the probation service, said Watkins had failed to turn up for appointments with supervisors and had completed only five hours' work.

Nor had Watkins yet paid any financial compensation to his victim, the court heard.

Francis Jones, in mitigation, conceded his client had responded "dismally" to the sentence.

"He has buried his head in the sand," said the barrister.

The court heard that Watkins, after serving a period of suspension, was now playing rugby for Dunvant's first team.

Judge John Diehl QC said it was disgraceful that Watkins had been able to find time to play rugby but had not been able to carry out community work.

The judge said the attack on John Rhys Jones 14 months ago had involved gratuitous violence and Watkins had been lucky to avoid a custodial sentence.

The judge said Watkins's lack of compliance with the community sentence was "almost an invitation" to the court to impose a term of custody.

However, he was prepared to give Watkins one last chance to avoid a spell behind bars.

But, to mark the breach, the unpaid work requirement would be increased from 180 to 270 hours.

"If, God forbid, you break this order again, you will come back here, and you and I are going to meet again," the judge warned him.

Mr Jones said Watkins, formerly of Bay View Terrace, Brynmill, had been unable to pay the compensation because he had become unemployed shortly after the July sentencing hearing.

But the defendant's father had now offered to help him come up with the money.



http://www.thisissouthwales.com/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=161818&command=displayContent&sourceNode=161644&contentPK=18903371&folderPk=88499&pNodeId=161375http://

This lad has had 2 bites of the cherry for an offence I think was far worse than todays case, he actually ran in from 15 to 20 meters to kick the player who was on the ground in the face and then ran off as if nothing had happened. The Llandovery player was in hospital for 2 weeks.

At least in rugby law we would all apply the same sanctions, unfortunately the same cannot be said for criminal law:mad:

KML1
12-11-07, 14:11
There was a football case last year when a Barrow player punched an oppo during an FA Cup match and got 4 months (I think) at HM pleasure.

Hard to say how the legal system operates - Im sure some greater minds than I may be able to assist with minimum sentencing etc.

OB..
12-11-07, 14:11
The defence of volenti non fit injuria only applies if the act was one that might reasonably have been expected. A stamp is specifically made illegal in the laws, so the effect of stamping is not a risk the player has consented to. It thus falls under the law of the land.

Smoldon v Whitworth was the case where a referee was sued for allowing the scrums to collapse too often, resulting in Smoldon breaking his neck. The court said:
"...this argument [volenti] is unsustainable. The plaintiff had of course consented to the ordinary incidents of a game of rugby football of the kind in which he was taking part. Given, however, that the rules were framed for the protection of him and other players in the same position, he cannot possibly be said to have consented to a breach of duty on the part of the official whose duty it was to apply the rules and ensure so far as possible that they were observed."

Pablo
12-11-07, 15:11
Threads on same article now merged.

FlipFlop
12-11-07, 15:11
There is (or used to be) an entire document at the RFU which specifically sets out what players do and do not consent to when they step onto the field of play.

All the things that you don't consent to are not only illegal in rugby, but also in the laws of the UK. The main purpose of the document is to set the threshold levels (i.e. you consent that you may be punched, but not have a broken bone as the result of the punch etc.).

Not sure if it is still followed.

ExHookah
12-11-07, 16:11
There is (or used to be) an entire document at the RFU which specifically sets out what players do and do not consent to when they step onto the field of play.

All the things that you don't consent to are not only illegal in rugby, but also in the laws of the UK. The main purpose of the document is to set the threshold levels (i.e. you consent that you may be punched, but not have a broken bone as the result of the punch etc.).

Not sure if it is still followed.


I agree that there is a line between where rugby play can be accepted or not, and I think the laws of the game of rugby are quite a good place to establish the line.

If someone performed a rugby tackle on you, or a ruck style "clear out", on the street it would be assault. However on the pitch it is acceptable, and players would anticipate this sort of action occuring.

Some actions are clearly stated as being unacceptable in the sport. Stamping is a clearly stated one of these actions. The responsibility of the referee would be to ensure that the stamper is sent off the pitch and no longer allowed to participate in the match. If he's done that then he's fulfilled his duty.

I'm assuming the referees Red Card report was used as part of the evidence in the prosecution?

Padster
12-11-07, 16:11
One of my friends gave up refereeing after having to send a player off for serious assault. It ended up at crown court and he was a witness.

Incidently the injured player is now a referee on SEG.

Dixie
12-11-07, 20:11
Unforunately, there's insufficient detail in the article to know the full circumstances. However:



This suggests that a jail term is something of an over-reaction...
10" long gash requiring 30 stiches, due to an action that was not sanctioned by the laws of the game, and which constitutes criminal assault under the laws of the land. If you were glassed in a pub, Pablo, and received this sort of injury I expect a man of your stamp might think this was a trivial enough incident not to warrant a custodial sentence. Those of us on the less hardy wing of the human race would prefer the bugger was taken out of circulation

Davet
13-11-07, 00:11
It does all add to the pre-match discussion of no boots on bodies - else the bill will have you down the big-house!

Gareth-Lee Smith
13-11-07, 01:11
OB covers exactly what I was about to offer.

15 months - wow. That is a fair bit considering good character. Definitely a case of making an example

Deeps
13-11-07, 01:11
It sends the right message however there will still be those who believe that a little tickle is OK. :clap:

At this juncture I should admit to having general views on the treatment of all miscreants, on or off the field, as being a little to the right of Ghenghis Khan.

OB..
13-11-07, 01:11
This is what the injury looked like:-
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44234000/jpg/_44234905_garfieldscar203.jpg

PeterH
13-11-07, 02:11
I Would Love To Know What Studs He Had In - If After 10 Mins They Did That
He Must Have Used Some Force!!

Dixie
13-11-07, 10:11
I Would Love To Know What Studs He Had In - If After 10 Mins They Did That
He Must Have Used Some Force!!

That looks to me like a Blade wound. If not, the ref should reconsider his stud-check routine, as it's hard to imagine an ali stud doing that type of damage, no matter how worn.

Pablo
13-11-07, 10:11
10" long gash requiring 30 stiches, due to an action that was not sanctioned by the laws of the game, and which constitutes criminal assault under the laws of the land. If you were glassed in a pub, Pablo, and received this sort of injury I expect a man of your stamp might think this was a trivial enough incident not to warrant a custodial sentence. Those of us on the less hardy wing of the human race would prefer the bugger was taken out of circulation

Dixie - as I said, these details were missing from the original article. "Cosmetic" is a weasel word designed to make one think "trivial". That wound, especially in light of the photo OB has posted, is not trivial. Now in posession of more facts, I think the jail term is justified.

Deeps
13-11-07, 11:11
That looks to me like a Blade wound. If not, the ref should reconsider his stud-check routine, as it's hard to imagine an ali stud doing that type of damage, no matter how worn.

Actually you would be surprised, almost any projection will do that given sufficient force.

I had two players on the same side bang heads the other day. One shook his head, got up and carried on without a mark, the other had a gushing, open 2" long horizontal wound above his left eye. First there, I held the two halves together with finger tips of both hands until help arrived from the touchline. We used two cotton pads to stem the flow and even then the player wanted to carry on! 'No, I don't think so, you might need a stitch (or 10!) in that one.'

Mat 04
14-11-07, 00:11
I actually know that player who booted a 16 year old in the face. Excuse my french but he is a complete ****ing ******. I have had the displeasure of having ot be part of the same college team as him. He is easily one of the most unintelligent beings Ive ever encountered, bordering on cretinous. To say I dont like him would be an understatement. Im quite frankly appalled he has been allowed into the Dunvant first team, the WRU should of banned him for life and if I were on the clubs commitee I would ban him from the clubhouse aswell, for bringing the reputation of an otherwise sucsessful establishment into disrepute.

AndyKidd
14-11-07, 09:11
Mat

I'm with you with regards to what should have happened to Watkins. And having had dealings with Dunvant and Dunvant Juniors over the years and going out in swansea on occassions with a couple of their coaches. I am surprised at the club for allowing this particular player to wear their shirt. I have never had any cause to doubt their sportsmanship before, but seeing this does make me think.

Account Deleted
14-11-07, 11:11
There are a couple of separate questions here.

1: Should the law of the land be an available resource when dealing with incidents that occur on the field of play (in any game)

2: If so was the verdict and sentence right in this case?

The answer to Question one is YES with no doubt whatsoever.

The answer to question two is I'm do not know having not being privy to all the information. From what I've read the sentence seems lenient. However, I'm sure I am not aware of the full facts.

Deeps
14-11-07, 11:11
Should the law of the land be an available resource when dealing with incidents that occur on the field of play (in any game)

I would have no hesitation in halting a game and sending for the police if I consider the behaviour so warranted.

ex-lucy
14-11-07, 12:11
I would have no hesitation in halting a game and sending for the police if I consider the behaviour so warranted.

but where do you draw the line?
a high tackle?
a dangerous tackle?
a rucking?
a shoeing?
a stamping?
a punch?
all of it is technically illegal ... but would you call the police?

Dixie
14-11-07, 12:11
but where do you draw the line?
a high tackle?
a dangerous tackle?
a rucking?
a shoeing?
a stamping?
a punch?
all of it is technically illegal ... but would you call the police?
Ex - it's our old friend, Mr Context again. When you took to the pitch recently in a 2nd XV game, you knew before the kick-off that your opposition prop would bend the laws, and quite likely get away with it. You probably gave as good as you got. In both cases, the actions were outside the laws of the game, but within your parameters of normality and acceptability. You may have squared up to your oppo, and perhaps even exchanged light punches - utterly illegal, but you'd probably have shared a pint with the guy afterwards. But the guy who sticks his fingers in your eye and twists? Or who's holding you on the ground and pummelling your face? These are different matters - though perhaps distinguishable only in terms of severity and risk.

cymrubach
14-11-07, 12:11
There are a couple of separate questions here.

1: Should the law of the land be an available resource when dealing with incidents that occur on the field of play (in any game)

2: If so was the verdict and sentence right in this case?

The answer to Question one is YES with no doubt whatsoever.

The answer to question two is I'm do not know having not being privy to all the information. From what I've read the sentence seems lenient. However, I'm sure I am not aware of the full facts.

2 seperate cases in the same court of law with 2 different judges:-

Case 1 unlawful wounding with a stamp that required hospital attention for stitches and player home the same day.

Case 2 inflicting GBH with a running kick to the face of a player who was pinned on the ground which resulted in the player laying unconcious for a period and subsequent hospitalisation for 2 weeks following a series of operations to repair a fractured eye socket, broken cheekbone and broken nose.

Sentance 1 = 15 months imprisonment

Sentance 2 = (originally) 180 hrs community service and 1000 compensation

I know which player I would want to be and which judge I would want to appear before......

I'm sorry, gents in this case the law has shown it's self to be an ar$e:mad:

cymrubach
14-11-07, 12:11
I actually know that player who booted a 16 year old in the face. Excuse my french but he is a complete ****ing ******. I have had the mispleasure of having ot be part of the same college team as him. He is easily one of the most unintelligent beings Ive ever encountered, bordering on cretinous.

Mat, I sincererly hope our mutual friend Mr Watkins doesn't read this forum or the next time you take to the field in the same team don't get caught at the bottom ruck, you never know who's feet are the doing the damage:wink:

Mat 04
14-11-07, 12:11
Mat, I sincererly hope our mutual friend Mr Watkins doesn't read this forum or the next time you take to the field in the same team don't get caught at the bottom ruck, you never know who's feet are the doing the damage:wink:

I would absolutely love to play against him - and I dont get get caught in rucks ;)

Simon Thomas
14-11-07, 13:11
As referees we manage the rugby match - that is our remit. We are NOT community policemen, but I respect anyone's rights to do whatever they wish as a private individual, however it is NOT Society policy to summon police; leave it to the Club.

If there is violent play we penalise it, and use YC or RC sanctions.
If severe enough, I would abandon the match and leave it to the club officials to take whatever action they so require. I would NOT call the police myself. However I would of course expect to give a witness statement should police be called.

Should the injured player or his club wish to take civil or crimminal action that is their choice, and again I would expect to give a witness statement.

We had an incident last season, where a player was punched blindside of ref, knocked out, paramedic / ambulance called, who in turn called police (3 cars !). Pitch was marked off by police tape, every player and referee interviewed, player arested for GBH, but eventually no charges were made. It all left a nasty taste, total waste of police resources, etc.

cymrubach
14-11-07, 13:11
Mat

I'm with you with regards to what should have happened to Watkins. And having had dealings with Dunvant and Dunvant Juniors over the years and going out in swansea on occassions with a couple of their coaches. I am surprised at the club for allowing this particular player to wear their shirt. I have never had any cause to doubt their sportsmanship before, but seeing this does make me think.

Andy,

Dunvant rugby club suspended Watkins with immediate effect after the match in question pending legal action and any disciplinary meeted out by the WRU. He was suspended from all activities at or in the club. As you know the Union can't punish someone while legal action is likely to take place and must wait on the actions of the courts before handing down their own punishment.

Mr Watkins was advised by Dunvant RFC that he should not engage in any rugby related activity until after the case. He did go and train with another club in the area while under self-imposed suspension, but did not play for a team. (which he couldn't do anyway as Dunvant held his registration and they would not have released it due to the on-going case - even though Mr Watkins throughout this time was still eligable to play rugby as you can't be suspended until after a full WRU hearing)

After the trial, and sentence, Dunvant wrote to the WRU and asked what the position was with regard to the player and registration. The subsequent reply was that as Mr Watkins had served a years self-imposed suspension and had been penalised in a court of law, he was allowed to commence playing rugby with immediate effect. There were few clubs who would take over the registration of this player and Dunvant felt that he was their responsibility. It was agreed with WRU that he would be given another chance and a "mentor" was appointed to counsel and guide him at the club. Yes he has started to play again for the 1st team, which it not to everyones taste, however, if he had just been thrown out and not helped the club felt sure he would have gone seriously off the rails.

As a sub note, Dunvants relationship with Llandovery throughout has been extremely good. They were happy with the actions the club took during the past year, and the communication from Dunvant with regard to their injured player and Mr Watkins position. This Saturday Dunvant Youth travel to Llandovery for the annual friendly we alway play. Both sides are happy to continue with this fixture and I can assure you it will be a keenly fought but disciplined game.

I believe that Dunvant RFC have acted with integrity throughout.

Anyway, Andy, hope to see you down our way again, let me know if your touring sometime in the future.

Mat 04
14-11-07, 13:11
I'm not going to pretend I'm some law genius, but I'm going to attempt to explain why the two cases may of had so different outcomes.

As Im sure some of the knowledgeable users here will know, there are two sorts of GBH in the England and Wales Justice system.

Section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act
and
Section 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act

Section 20 is the lesser charge as it doesnt require intent.

The maxmum sentence for someone found guilty under Section 20 is 5 years imprisonment.

The maximum sentence for a guilty verdict under Section 18 is life imprisonment.

After reading the two news reports I cant see the words intent in either, although I will admit both seem pretty hard to imagine without intent. I can only imagine the legal teams of he victims / CPS thought it safer to try for a conviction of the lesser charge.

Wounding is breaking the two layers of the skin and blood exiting the body.

Wounding is contrary to section 20, as is inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm or to resist arrest is slightly more serious than causing grievous bodily harm to do grievous bodily harm or to resist arrest.

Its obvious that there is quite a difference in the sentences. As Ive said, wounding is more serious, but 15 months more serious? Im not so sure.

Perhaps Garfield was found guilty of a Section 18 and Wakins of a Section 20, but I could find no evidence of that in the news reports..

cymrubach
14-11-07, 13:11
Mat,

My understanding was the CPS were originally going for wounding with intent or something similar (to do with using the boot as a weapon) but Watkins was going to plead not guilty. An agreement was reached with his solicitors to plead to the lesser charge - good solicitors or gutless CPS (as they must have had a decent case in the first place to consider the original charge)

Mat 04
14-11-07, 14:11
As I suspected. I think the justice system needs to be shaped up a bit. Deals dont do justice.

AndyKidd
14-11-07, 15:11
cymrubach

Thanks for the full explanation. And reminds me I really should make some phone calls that are slightly overdue. Glad to read that the Dunvant I know is still there.

cymrubach
14-11-07, 15:11
Andy,

What club are you associated with, just wondering if I've reffed you when you've been down, I do a lot of touring sides, especially for Dunvant....

AndyKidd
14-11-07, 15:11
cymrubach

I am with Eastleigh and I reffed the Juniors when they came down to us a couple of years back..... as for being in Swansea .... that was a jolly out with CW from Juniors and Mark (Will Carling loook alike) also out with us was the Physio for Wales/Lions but can't remember his name:)


(ps I didn't mean it mark)

cymrubach
14-11-07, 15:11
Yeh, your right about Mark, same dimple:biggrin: He's know the the head coach for Dunvant Youth, and the side is doing very well under him. (undefeated in the league so far) Who's CW?

AndyKidd
14-11-07, 16:11
Colin Whitecross .......

cymrubach
14-11-07, 16:11
I know Colin very well, but he's not actively involved with the Rugby at the moment, he stopped coaching when the 16's went to youth. His boy is doing very well as a Welsh international mountain biker....

AndyKidd
14-11-07, 16:11
I said that I had a few phone calls to make ..... saw Colin last year when he came down to see his Brother. Remember him saying something about not coaching but didn't take it in. Glad to hear his boy's doing well even if it's not in the beloved game. When the Dunvant youth came down to us I really must say what a pleasure it was to referee them and what a credit to the club they were.

cymrubach
14-11-07, 16:11
Thanks for that Andy, I will pass it on to the committee, it's always good to have positive feedback from other clubs, especially after tours :hap: