The independent Judicial Officer, Jeremy Summers (England), heard submissions by conference call from Minto and Benetton Treviso's Chief Executive, Vittorio Munari. Employing the IRB recommended sanctions for Law 10.4(a), the Judicial Officer decided that the offence was at the mid-range entry point of eight (8) weeks. Having taken into account the player's guilty plea, his remorse and his exemplary conduct during the hearing, the Judicial Officer reduced the period by two (2) weeks and imposed a suspension of six (6) weeks.
Minto will be free to play on Monday, 30 January 2012. Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.
Law 10.4(a) Striking an opponent with the head
Under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed within the Playing Enclosure, Law 10.4(a), carries the following penalties: Lower End: 4 weeks; Mid Range: 8 weeks; Top End: 12+ 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) Disciplinary Hearing
a) The independent Judicial Officer is chosen by the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar.
b) ERC's 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 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/disciplinenews when the disciplinary process is complete
e) For IRB recommended sanctions for offences committed within the playing enclosure, Law 10.4(a), go to www.irb.com