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SANZAR Judicial Process

SANZAR Judicial Process

The Judicial Rules for the Super Rugby and Tri Nations competitions
are set out in IRB Regulation 17 as modified by SANZAR.

In summary, a hearing will take place if a player is red-carded
by the match referee, cited by the Citing Commissioner or receives
three yellow cards in either the Super Rugby or Tri Nations
competitions in any year. At the hearing a Judicial Officer
will consider in detail all the evidence and submissions put
forward by the player. This may include video evidence, evidence
from the player or other players, evidence from the match officials,
medical evidence and legal submissions.

Having considered all the evidence relating to the particular
offending and the circumstances of the player charged, a Judicial
Officer imposes, in every case, what it believes is a fair and
proportionate penalty in accordance with the rules.

Set out below are some key facts relating to the Judicial process
for the SANZAR Competitions:

1. Judicial Officers and Citing Commissioners

* Each of the three SANZAR Unions has a panel of Judicial
Officers and Citing Commissioners. Judicial Officers must be
legally qualified and experienced and Citing Commissioners must
have appropriate rugby experience.

* For Tri Nations matches the Citing Commissioner and Judicial
Officer are appointed from the neutral country (for example
South Africa when the All Blacks are playing the Wallabies).
To keep costs down, for Super Rugby matches the Citing Commissioner
and Judicial Officer are appointed from the host country.

* A Citing Commissioner has, with limited exceptions, 12 hours
from the end of the match to cite a player.

* The Citing Commissioner has the power to cite any player
for an act of foul play which in the opinion of the Citing Commissioner
warranted the player concerned being sent off. This is known
as the red card test.

* Citing Commissioners act independently of the match officials;
for example a player who receives a yellow card during the course
of the match can still be cited if the Citing Commissioner believes
the yellow card was an insufficient punishment and the offence
met the red card test.

* Unions or teams cannot cite an opposing player, but may
refer an incident to the Citing Commissioner for consideration
within four hours of the conclusion of the match. The Citing
Commissioner’s decision as to whether or not to cite a
player is final.

2. The Hearing

* Hearings are held in private either the day after the match
or, depending on the team’s travel schedules, a few days
after the match.

* Players are entitled to legal representation and are provided
with sufficient opportunity to consider the available evidence
prior to the hearing.

* In the case of a red card, the Judicial Officer will consider
the circumstances of the case and determine what further sanction,
if any, should be imposed on the player. In the case of a citing,
the Judicial Officer does not apply the red card test but he
will review the case and determine whether, on the balance of
probabilities, the player committed the act of foul play alleged.
If the Judicial Officer finds the player did not commit the
act of foul play alleged, the citing is not upheld and the player
is cleared to play.

A Judicial Officer will not make a finding contrary to a referee’s
decision unless he is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities,
the referee’s reasons for his decision are wrong

* In considering penalty, the Judicial Officer must decide
if the nature of the offending is at the low, mid-range or high
end of the scale of offences set out in IRB Regulation 17. That
decision will determine the “entry point” in terms
of the length of suspension which can then be increased or decreased
according to the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors.

* Mitigating factors could include a player’s good record
and character, the action taken to prevent the incident occurring
again, an apology and remorse. Aggravating factors could include
the player being classified as a persistent offender of the
laws of the game, a lack of remorse or the need for a deterrent
to combat a pattern of offending.

3. Appeal

Players have the right of appeal to a SANZAR Appeal Committee
comprising of one appointee from each the three SANZAR countries.

4. Review

At the conclusion of each season, SANZAR undertakes a comprehensive
review of the Super Rugby and Tri Nations tournaments during
which all aspects of the judicial process are reviewed.