SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Mike Heron has recalled his three week suspension for Highlanders loose forward James Haskell and replaced it with a 4 week suspension due to an oversight.
Heron ruled on the 1st of May that Haskell would get a 3 Week Suspension but due to a previous ruling that was overlooked the ban has been extended.
Haskell was found guilty of striking Cheetahs player Justin Downey following the match between the Cheetahs and the Highlanders at Free State Stadium Bloemfontein on 28 April 2012.
During the hearing Mr Heron reduced the prescribed entry point sanction from six weeks to three weeks due to a number of mitigating factors including Haskell's guilty plea, remorse for the act and his impressive record of no previous citings in over 10 years of professional rugby.
After issuing the decision it was brought to SANZAR's attention that in fact Haskell had received a 1-week suspension in 2008 following a match between Wasps and Worcester.
Mr Haskell and his counsel attended a further hearing before Mr Heron and provided him a copy of the earlier decision. Haskell explained that he had completely overlooked it (because it was such a different and unusual matter) and apologised.
After discussion, Mr Haskell agreed that Mr Heron would recall and reissue the decision, reducing the mitigation previously given from three weeks to two weeks. That would then result in an ultimate sanction of four weeks. Mr Heron noted that Mr Haskell did not have to agree to such a course, but to his credit, he did so.
"Because Haskell had a previous disciplinary matter, I find I am not able to give him the maximum discount as previously allowed," explained Heron.
"The comments regarding the impressive record are modified to that extent only. "
"The discount for his guilty plea, remorse and the record as now corrected, is a period of two weeks. The final penalty is a suspension of four weeks, which is the period to and including Saturday 26 May 2012 (four scheduled Super Rugby matches)."
Mr Heron commented "It is vital for the proper functioning of this disciplinary system, that players and their support personnel provide accurate and complete information to the Judicial Officer. In this case I accept it was an oversight."
"I note for completeness that a deliberate failure to provide accurate and complete information on material matters such as previous disciplinary record, could amount to Misconduct under the SANZAR Code of Conduct."
Haskell has been named in the England squad that will tour South Africa in June but the extension of the ban will not prevent him from playing in South Africa.