The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC has accepted a guilty plea from Hugh McMeniman of the Force for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking, after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend. McMeniman has been suspended from all forms of the game for one week up to and including 12 July 2014. The incident occurred in the 29th minute of the match between the Force and Reds at nib Stadium in Perth on Saturday 5 July 2014.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC assessed the case.
The video footage demonstrates that Hugh McMeniman dropped his knee into the side of Ben Lucas, with no great force, and while initially contesting a deliberate strike, the Duty Judicial Officer (DJO) process does not allow a defence as such. Lucas’ condition was not finally assessed according to the medical report available but the player directly indicated to McMeniman that no serious injury had been sustained. On the basis that this was a deliberate application of the knee, it was indicated to the player that a one-week suspension would be imposed if the breach was admitted and he accepted that penalty.
While the entry point for striking with the knee is three weeks, the DJO considered that this was no more serious than another lower end striking sanction which carries a two-week entry point. Together, with McMeniman’s outstanding disciplinary record over nine years, this warranted a discount to one week.
The player was suspended up to and including Saturday 12 July 2014. 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.