The independent Judicial Officer, Pat Barriscale (Ireland), heard submissions from Skinner, Harlequins Director of Rugby, Conor O'Shea, club representative, Geraint Ashton-Jones, match referee, Alain Rolland and ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor.
For red card hearings the onus rests with the player to demonstrate that the referee's decision to issue the red was wrong, and the Judicial Officer found that the player had not demonstrated that, and he accordingly upheld the red card.
Employing the IRB recommended sanctions for acts contrary to good sportsmanship - the Judicial Officer decided that the offence was at the low-end entry point of four (4) weeks. Having taken into account the mitigating factors including the player's excellent record, he decided on the maximum reduction of 50 per cent, and imposed a suspension of two (2) weeks.
Skinner will be free to play on Monday, 2 January 2012. Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.
Law 10.4(m) Acts which are contrary to good sportsmanship
Under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed within the Playing Enclosure, Law 10.4(m), when covering acts that have not been specified, carries the following penalties: Lower End: 4 weeks; Mid Range: 7 weeks; Top End: 11+ to 52 weeks
(i) Red Cards
a) The case of any player sent off in the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup game shall be adjudicated by an independent Judicial Officer as soon as is practicable
b) Until the hearing the player is ineligible to play in any tournament
(ii) Independent Disciplinary Hearing
a) The independent Judicial Officer is chosen by the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar
b) The ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, presents the case against the player
c) 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 three (3) working days of receiving the full written decision of the independent Judicial Officer
d) The full written decision of the independent Judicial Officer will be available on www.ercrugby.com/disciplinenewswhen the disciplinary process is complete
e) For IRB recommended sanctions for offences committed within the playing enclosure, Law 10.4(m), go to www.irb.com