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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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A rugby player ( national level 3 ) was reported to the police

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A rugby player ( national level 3 ) was reported to the police for striking another player during a game claiming that ABH was caused. There are few if any witnesses to the incident and the ref played on. Many witnesses say it didn't happen. The RFU had already dismissed the case on grounds of lack of evidence. The injured boys father ( who is a lawyer) has made such a fuss that the CPS agreed to charge the player and he must appear in court on a civil charge in March.
In the meantime the RFU have decided that this player is suspended from playing rugby- even though they have no charge against him. Surely under Human Rights law until the player is proved guilty he should not be suspended from playing for what is only a possibility.
What can we do to appeal against this breach of his human rights ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Sorry but what is the human rights issue here?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The player has been suspended from playing rugby by the RFU. The RFU have no case against the player and he has not been found guilty of any charge.

We need to know if it is this is in breach of the players human rights to be effectively punished by suspension from playing for something which has not been proved. The case is a civil charge and we thought that one was innocent until proved guilty.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, its not.
Come what may, CPS are prosecuting. It might very well be a weak case and he may well be acquitted. However, he is charged.
Innocent until proven guilty is a presumption in English law but there are lots of caveats and exceptions. Most bail applications presume guilt because you take the Crown's case at its highest.
In any event, the RFU is not bound by that presumption because they are not a prosecutor. They are also not bound by the HRA because they are not an emanation of the state.
Nevertheless, even if they were bound by the HRA, a decision to suspend him pending the outcome of the case is not likely to be a breach. The only Article that does apply is the right to freedom of assembly and that is a derogable article. Since there is an outstanding criminal case, derogation is not likely to be considered unreasonable.
Also, this is not a civil charge. There is no such thing in the UK. He is being charged with a crime and facing a criminal prosecution.
It used to be that CPS took the view that what went on in the pitch should stay on pitch but they have in recent years taken the view that fouls amount to an assault. Jurors tend not to agree over all and so they are often acquitted. Jurors tend to think if you choose to play a contact sport it is unattractive to come to court whinging and moaning when somebody strikes you.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you it is becoming clearer. We are obviously upset because we know that the lad concerned has been victimised by what you describe as a whinger.

Can you please explain what you mean in the following paragraph. 'The only Article that does apply is the right to freedom of assembly and that is a derogable article. Since there is an outstanding criminal case, derogation is not likely to be considered unreasonable'.

Does it help us the mount a case against suspension ? Fact is the lad didn't actually do it !! how can we help him to play the spot he loves until he is cleared of the charge ?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, of course he has. Most players of contact sports don't go whinging and snivelling about fouls.
The paragraph just means the right to assembly isnt an absolute right and they can derogate from it. There is no legal challenge I'm afraid.
Unless the RFU are going to change their view, they are perfectly free to suspend.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69771
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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