‘No proof of malicious intent’
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Chad Cupido and Regina Graham
THE Western Province Rugby Union said its disciplinary committee found no clear evidence of malicious intent to cause bodily harm after a SACS rugby player was accused of “stomping” on an opposition player’s face earlier this month.
Primrose Rugby Club said a final meeting will be held today where a verdict would be delivered. The club refused to say whether legal action would be considered.
The 14-year-old Primrose player, Imran Fredericks, was left with a broken nose, cut eye, mild concussion, bruises and swelling after the under-15A match. Fredericks said he had tackled a SACS player and both had gone down.
“As I was about to get up I felt a shock, and the next thing I remember was getting up and holding my face because I knew it was damaged,” he said.
Fredericks’s father, Wajdie Fredericks, attempted to lodge a complaint of assault (grievous bodily harm) at the Claremont police station, but was told by an officer that the case would first have to be dealt with by Western Province Rugby as the the incident involved two minors on a rugby field.
Police spokesman André Traut said at the time: “We are leaving it to the rugby union to decide if the incident was a criminal offence, and if so, we will deal with it.”
After the incident Primrose team manager Shamieg Saban alleged the referee was unconcerned about the player and questioned his conduct.
“Play continued and we (Primrose officials) had to walk on to the field to stop the match before things got worse.” He said a SACS parent had told him after the match that the accused player had previously been suspended after a similar incident.
Yesterday, Western Province Rugby’s Theo Kleynhans described the video evidence.
“A ruck was formed, the ball was then won by Primrose and fed along the backline, the ruck then broke up and Fredericks was seen sitting, injured. He then stood up and walked off the field. The video also shows paramedics assisting him shortly after the incident. It also showed that he didn’t want to receive medical attention. He seemed too traumatised and his parents then took him to hospital.”
In its decision, the High School Rugby Association’s disciplinary committee said: “The injuries sustained by the player are very unfortunate, and we always regret injuries to rugby players. But based on the video evidence at our disposal, the disciplinary committee found no clear evidence of malicious intent, or to cause bodily harm to the player mentioned.
“It seems to be an injury sustained during the normal course of playing at a ruck after the player mentioned tackled an opponent.”
Kleynhans said Primrose officials had requested copies of the reports which the union was not authorised to release.
However, he said Primrose officials were welcome to visit the offices and study the reports and view the video, which they did. He said the association would arrange a meeting between the school and the club officials.