Law 10.4(a) Striking with the head
Under the IRB Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4(a) carries the following sanction entry points: Low End: 4 weeks; Mid Range: 10 weeks; Top End: 16 to 52 weeks.
The independent Judicial Officer, Jean-Noel Couraud, heard evidence and submissions from Bernini, who pleaded guilty to the offence, I Cavalieri Prato representative, Federico Oggioni, I Cavalieri Prato Assistant Coach, Rima Wakarua, and ERC.
In upholding the red card decision, the Judicial Officer determined that Bernini intentionally struck Cocagi with his head and that the offence was at the mid range of the IRB's sanctioning regime (10 weeks). Taking into account Bernini's guilty plea and his good disciplinary record, as well as the fact that there were no aggravating factors, the Judicial Officer applied a 50 per cent reduction of the sanction term and imposed as suspension of five (5) weeks.
Bernini is free to play on Monday, 9 December 2013. Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.
(i) Red Cards
a) The case of any player sent off in Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup games 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) If a red card is upheld, the independent Judicial Officer will be required to consider the appropriate sanction. Under the IRB's sanctioning regime, which ERC is obliged to follow, the Judicial Officer will first assess the seriousness of the player's actions and determine which of the three stipulated entry points (lower end, mid range and top end) is the most appropriate.
d) The Judicial Officer will determine the appropriate entry point based on his/her assessment of a number of particular characteristics of the player's actions, including whether or not they were intentional, whether or not they caused any injuries and whether or not they had any effect on the relevant match.
e) After deciding the entry point, the Judicial Officer will then consider whether the suspension should be increased from the entry point to take account of certain specified aggravating factors, such as a poor disciplinary record or the need for deterrence, and/or decreased from the entry point to take account of certain specified mitigating actions, such as a guilty plea, a good disciplinary record, the player's conduct at the hearing and expressions of remorse.
f) A suspension is a blanket ban from playing rugby union anywhere in the world. In determining the length of any period of suspension, the Judicial Officer shall take into consideration any close season periods of inactivity for a player, any periods in which the player is not fit to play, not available to play, and/or not expected to play, as well as inconsequential pre-season or 'friendly' matches.
g) 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 Judicial Officer.
h) The full written decision of the Judicial Officer will be available on http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/discipline/newswhen the disciplinary process is complete
i) For IRB Sanctions for Foul Play, found at Appendix 1 to IRB Regulation 17, please go to www.irb.com