Johannesburg - Australian man escaped jail this week after being convicted of sending 23 parcels of his own excrement to Hollywood stars Leonardo di Caprio and Jared Leto. He was caught after his frozen waste melted in one of his country’s post office clearing centres and leaked onto a post office worker.
He admitted that sending the parcels, which he had labelled as “Valentine confectionary”, to California was poor judgment. He had sent it apparently in solidarity with both actors’ environmental views.
Psychiatrists had found that he had not considered the consequences of his actions due to mental impairment. The magistrate in turn found that because his world views were outside of the accepted norm, they could not have been motivated by malice.
But the man had to be punished to discourage anyone else from doing the same, which had had a major impact on the operations within the Australian Post Office when it was discovered, with staff forced to wear personal protection equipment.
It is a remarkably calm and generous response to what really was a repugnant act.
Great justice is often referred to as Solomonic after the Old Testament king’s edict to cut the baby claimed by two harlots down the middle and give each mother a half. The Six Nations rugby disciplinary committee set up to judge a possible sanction on England fly half Owen Farrell obviously missed their Sunday school lessons.
On Monday, they cleared Farrell, who is a serial offender when it comes to high – and possible career-ending tackles – by seeing mitigation in his tackle last Saturday on Wales’s Taine Basham. Their leniency meant Farrell wouldn’t miss a single match for England in the Rugby World Cup, which starts in just under a month.
The decision is in direct contrast to world rugby’s campaign to cut down head injuries and foul play. But the bigger problem is the reality of two sets of rules; one for the privileged elite in the north and a totally different set for the south and especially the smaller rugby nations.
With Farrell’s disciplinary record, he should have been looking at a minimum ban of six games, which would have ruled him out of the remaining warm-up matches and all of his country’s pool games – after all, Tonga centre George Moala copped a 10 match ban for a tip tackle last Saturday on Canada’s Ben le Sage.
It’s a very clear message. As clear as South Africa being robbed by the suits of the chance to host this World Cup here, in favour of France. The good news is that the outrage has been so universal, so intense, that World Rugby is now reviewing the Farrell whitewash. Who knows what could have happened otherwise at World Rugby HQ, especially in the mailroom, if they hadn’t?
They would have had nothing to worry about from South Africa though; Rassie Erasmus is all sweetness and light these days after his lengthy ban. As for the fans, we have neither the electricity to freeze our sh** – nor the postal service to send it.
Maybe that’s why we’re not hosting the World Cup this year.