Having heard from Mr Brennan, several character witnesses and from ERC's Disciplinary Officer during the appeal hearing, the Appeal Committee found that although the incident was of a very serious nature, in their view the original suspension, which was the maximum available, was disproportionate and should be reduced.
The Appeal Committee therefore suspended Mr Brennan from playing Rugby Union for five years (commencing, 1 June 2007) and furthermore imposed a five year suspension on Mr Brennan from participating in ERC tournaments in any capacity (commencing 1 June 2007).
The Committee also upheld the original fine of 25,000 euro imposed on Mr Brennan and the order to pay 5,000 euro compensation to Mr Bamford and the costs of convening the disciplinary hearing.
The independent Appeal Committee chaired by Wyn Williams QC (Wales) and also comprising Robert Horner (England) and Sheriff Bill Dunlop (Scotland) convened in Dublin on Friday, 1 June and communicated its decision to both parties today (Monday, 11 June).
The original independent Disciplinary Committee, which met in London on Friday, 16 March had imposed on Mr Brennan a lifetime suspension from playing Rugby Union and also imposed a lifetime ban on Mr Brennan from participating in any capacity in tournaments organised by ERC. Mr Brennan was also fined Euro 25,000 and was ordered to pay Euro 5,000 compensation to Mr Bamford and the costs of convening the hearing.
NB: The full written decisions of the independent Disciplinary and Appeal Committees are now available on www.ercrugby.com/discipline.
NOTES TO EDITORS
i) Independent Appeal Committee
a) The independent Appeal Committee is chosen by the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar.
b) None of the members of the independent Disciplinary Committee who issued the decision being challenged in the appeal may sit on the independent Appeal Committee.
ii) Independent Disciplinary Committee
a) The independent Disciplinary Committee 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 / club.
c) Both parties to the hearing (ERC and the player / Club) have the right to appeal decisions of the independent Disciplinary Committee. Appeals must be lodged within 72 hours of receiving the full written decision from the Chairman of the independent Disciplinary Committee.