If any of you or any of us were observed strangling another person, it would be off to jail, but a division two player for Canterbury go away with aggravated assault with nothing other than a four-year ban from rugby.
They say Justice is blind, but is it daft as well?
Rolleston player Kerry Italo had Simon Lancaster on the ground and was punching him in the face and nether regions.
When Lancaster objected to the shabby treatment, Italo started choking Lancaster.
It is fortunate for Lancaster that Italo was not carrying any sort of weapon.
The game continued for several phases before the referee became aware of what was going on, at which point he blew his whistle, which, not surprisingly had little effect on Italo.
It took one of Lancaster’s teammates tackling Italo to permit Lancaster to resume breathing.
Italo was handed a red card. Duh.
Italo appeared before the Ellesmere Rugby Sub Union independent judicial panel and he copped a 60-playing week ban on a charge of strangling around the neck. He had only been back for a couple weeks following a ban for foul play last season.
Italo is one angry young man, but he escaped the long arm of the law. According to Sub Union chairman Chris Thornley, the police were not contacted because it was, in his words, “Too difficult.”
Lancaster elected not to involve law enforcement either. “I think four years off rugby should help learn the lesson, I don’t think going to the police is necessary,” he said.
It is impossible to say whether criminal charges and a criminal record would solve the situation, but while he waits out his ban, is he free to hop codes and perhaps take up some other game?
Lancaster was fortunate to escape serious injury or even death and his assailant’s penalty is no more rugby for a while?
The Ellesmere group botched this one.