The disciplinary hearing considering the citing complaint against Brian Mujati, the Northampton Saints replacement prop forward (No 18), which began in Dublin on Thursday, 22 October, 2009, reconvened in Glasgow on Monday, 2 November, 2009.
The independent Judicial Officer Rod McKenzie (Scotland) adjourned the initial hearing to allow additional evidence to be heard with regard to the determination of the appropriate sanction, if any. Mr McKenzie did, however, impose an interim suspension on the player until Monday, 2 November, 2009.
The citing lodged by the Citing Commissioner for the match, Murray Whyte (Ireland), was for an alleged push in the back of referee Nigel Owens (Wales) in contravention of Law 10.4 (l) during the Heineken Cup Round 2 match against Perpignan at Stade Aime Giral on Friday, 16 October, 2009.
After considering the player's guilty plea and other evidence, the Judicial Officer found that Brian Mujati was guilty of an act contrary to good sportsmanship in contravention of Law 10.4 (l) in that he had physically abused the match referee. The Judicial Officer determined that the incident was at the low-end in the level of seriousness for an offence of Physical Abuse of a Match Official.
When considering the appropriate sanction for the offence, the Judicial Officer determined that there were no aggravating factors and that there were compelling and exceptional mitigating factors as the player was shown to have been suffering from concussion when the offence occurred.
Mr. McKenzie determined a 75% reduction from the recommended entry point for the low-end offence of its type and suspended the player for a period of six (6) weeks up to and including Wednesday, 2 December, 2009.
Under IRB Regulation 17 and the ERC Heineken Cup Disciplinary Rules, the recommended sanction entry point for a low-end offence of Physical Abuse of a Match Official is 24 weeks. Aggravating and mitigating factors can lead to an increase or decrease on the recommended entry point sanction.
Both parties have the right to appeal.
Law 10.4(l) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship (Physical Abuse of a Match Official)
(i) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners will be appointed by ERC for all Heineken Cup and all televised Amlin Challenge Cup matches and shall be entitled to cite a Player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing Commissioner's opinion warranted a citing.
b) For such matches Clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 24 hours of the conclusion of the match.
c) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the game to make a citing. In exceptional circumstances this deadline can be extended.
d) The Disciplinary Officer may forward the submitted Citing to a Citing Officer to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing to progress.
e) The Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
(ii) Independent Disciplinary Hearing
a) Citing hearings will be heard by an independent Judicial Officer as soon as is practicable. Until the hearing a cited player is eligible to play in ERC tournaments
b) The independent Judicial Officer is chosen by the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar
c) The ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, presents the case against the player
d) Both parties to the hearing (ERC and the player) have the right to appeal decisions of the independent Disciplinary Hearing. Appeals must be lodged within 72 hours of receiving the full written decision from the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Judicial Officer.
e) The full written decision of the independent Judicial Officer will be available on www.ercrugby.com/disciplinenews when the disciplinary process is complete