Ref charge can’t be implemented
THE introduction of a new Category 5 charge by the Group 2 judiciary without due process could come back to haunt local rugby league officials.
An incident on July 29 saw Port Macquarie reserve grade player Rob Inglis charged with threatening referee James Maggio.
It was alleged Inglis gestured he would cut Maggio's throat in the Sharks reserve grade clash against Sawtell at Hastings Regional Stadium.
While the Sharks had already pleaded guilty to Inglis' charges of threatening a referee on the field and making insulting gestures towards the crowd and receiving suspensions for it, the Sharks player suddenly found himself facing a 20 year ban. This happened after the judiciary tried to have the charge upgraded to a non-existent Category 5 level.
Such a charge has been knocked on the head by Group 2 management as rule changes can't be introduced without receiving a majority vote at a Group 2 annual general meeting.
Country Rugby League (CRL) regional manager for the East Coast Office, Kevin Hill said neither the referees association or judiciary had the jurisdiction to first of all create, and then implement, such a charge.
"Rule changes just can't be implemented without going to the management committee," Hill said.
"It is not up to Bill or the Judiciary to make changes."
The incident and its aftermath has caused plenty of consternation with Port Macquarie backing its player to the hilt while co-operating fully with Group 2.
Hill believes a communication breakdown between parties has caused confusion. Particularly in regards to the the added charge.
Group 2's acting judiciary chairman Bill Gibbons admits to poor communication between his body and the rest of the Group.
"I asked the Judiciary to put in a life ban (20 years) for any death threat against and they moved a motion to discuss the rule change at the next AGM," Gibbons said.
"Port Macquarie Sharks have already pleaded guilty on behalf of Inglis for two charges."
Even though it can't be introduced now, Gibbons is adamnat a heftier charge must be brought in at the first available opportunity.
"We believe threatening a referee is an extremely serious offence and believe it deserves a serious punishment," he said.