Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Better Get A Lawyer Son. Better Get A Real Good One.

Barry Hall, captain of the Sydney Swans, in a Preliminary Final to qualify for the Grand Final, punches an opponent in the stomach. Said opponent goes down like a sack of potatoes, for about 30 seconds, and Hall ends up kicking a goal soon afterwards. All of this is caught on camera and is quite clear and damning.

The man obviously has a case to answer and suspension seems the only likely outcome. But with a new points system for on-field indiscretions there is much debate about the seriousness of the charge and, if a few more points could be taken out of the equation and an early guilty plea entered, he may yet play in the GF.

Many of his peers support his inclusion in the squad for the GF. "Free Barry - Let Him Play" is the call. Even Kevin Sheedy came on the TV this morning and said that if a bloke was going to be suspended for 4 weeks for hitting someone then missing a GF is fair enough. But, if he was only going to miss 1 match why not make him miss the rematch with the team that the offence was committed against in the following season. Too harsh a penalty to miss a GF was his opinion.

I was thinking along the lines of the Norwegians. They are a forward-thinking group of people. If a Norwegian is found guilty of drink driving and they have to spend a few weeks in jail as a result they have the option to serve the time when they wish to. I.e. "I'm off to Spain for 3 weeks holiday" translates to "I got done for drink driving and will head off to jail during my holidays so that nobody notices". Couldn't Barry Hall take a similar penalty?

It turns out that Mr Hall did get a good lawyer. Perhaps the reincarnation of Johnny Cochrane. His lawyer defended Zdravko Micevic, the bouncer who hit one of my childhood stars, David Hookes, who subsequently died - The David Hookes Foundation was subsequently created. Micevic was found not guilty by a jury as they couldn't decide which version of the story to believe.

Mr Hall's lawyer pulled a masterstroke. The ball had been deemed not to be "in play" by the match review committee, as it was about 40m away. Therefore, the punch had been concluded to have taken place "behind the play". A scurrilous tactic indeed. "Off with his head" was the cry. Well, no. Not quite. The case was argued that players within kicking distance of the ball were actually that section of the ground known as "in play". I tend to agree. The ball could come to them at any time. It meant with his early guilty plea and the associated reduction in penalty, Barry Hall escaped with a reprimand and not a suspension.

OJ Simpson would be proud of that effort. And it will make for a fine spectacle of a GF.


Nick Souter said...

You heard it first on the Frugal! Interesting story there Hambone, didn't know what had happened and glad to hear he's playing. Screw West Coast, go Swannies! (And FNQ Cowboys!)

Hammysmum said...

Boo to you Nick Souter! I hope the West Coast Eagles thrash the Swans! I am going to stick my neck out here, and annoy the hack out of the male of the species. It is, after all, only a game. too bad that it is the grand final. I think Barry Hall should have taken his 'medicine' like a big brave boy! What a sook!