The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Kane Hames of the Highlanders for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Hames has been suspended from all forms of the game for five weeks up to and including 28 March 2015.
The incident occurred in the 74th minute of the match between the Highlanders and Crusaders played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on 21 February 2015.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC assessed the case.
In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following:
“As the Duty Judicial Officer, I considered all of the evidence before me including video footage, Citing Commissioner’s report, a photograph and medical report of the injury sustained by Mr Dominic Bird and the submissions of Mr Aaron Lloyd made on behalf of the player.
“After taking all relevant facts of the incident into consideration, I found the incident to have a mid-range entry point which stipulates a five week suspension. Several aggravating factors for the case included the injury to Mr Bird and a deterrent for this type of conduct occurring in the game, resulting in a two week increase to the sanction. This was then reduced by two weeks due to Hames’ remorse and prompt guilty plea for the incident.
“After taking all these factors into consideration, I found that a suspension of five weeks was warranted which was accepted by the player.
“The player is suspended for five weeks up to and including 28th March 2015.”
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.
Duty Judicial Officer: Robert Stelzner SC
Player: Kane Hames
Date of Incident: 21 February 2015
Nature of Offence: 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.
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 74th minute