The independent Judicial Officer, Jeremy Summers (England), heard evidence and submissions from Gough, Ospreys Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Hore, the club's team manager, Andy Lloyd, and ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor.
Employing the IRB recommended sanctions for Law 10.4(j), the Judicial Officer decided that the offence was at the low-end entry point of three (3) weeks. In consideration of aggravating factors and in reference to the IRB's directive on this pattern of offending, he added one (1) week to the period. Then having taken into account the player's excellent record and exemplary conduct during the hearing, he decided on a reduction of one (1) week before imposing a suspension of three (3) weeks.
Gough will be free to play on Monday, 9 January 2012. Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.
Law 10.4(j) - Lifting a player from the ground and either dropping or driving that player's head and/or upper body into the ground whilst the player's feet are off the ground.
Under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed within the Playing Enclosure, Law 10.4 (j) carries the following penalties: Low End: 3 weeks; Mid Range: 6 weeks; Top End: 10+ to 52 weeks.
i) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners are 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 ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor 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) 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) ERC's 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 3 business days of receiving the full written decision from the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Committee.