NRL judiciary to hear audio in bite case - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL judiciary to hear audio in bite case

17/08/2010 05:25:43 PM Comments (0)

The case against alleged biter Scott Bolton will be built largely on audio evidence and the actions of implicated victim Clinton Toopi at Wednesday night's judiciary hearing in Sydney.

The Cowboys' legal team are travelling to Sydney hoping to clear Bolton, a State of Origin candidate this year, of a serious biting charge on Titans centre Toopi, which was referred directly to the judiciary by the match review committee on Monday.

Toopi, who immediately protested to referee Ben Cummins after tackling Bolton, declined to lodge a formal on-field complaint or pursue the matter after the game.

It's thought the former Kiwi international preferred to leave the incident on the field and avoid the drama.

However a newspaper report on Tuesday said it was understood Toopi no longer believed he'd been bitten by Bolton, although he was not quoted directly.

Bolton, who has a clean judiciary sheet after three seasons, faces a lengthy suspension if found guilty of biting.

It could be a horror end to a disappointing season for the Cowboys with skipper Johnathan Thurston gone for the season, Luke O'Donnell (knee) looking like his year is finished and rookie Dane Hogan coping a five-week ban after pleading guilty to a grade four dangerous throw charge.

"We're going through the process of trying to get our defence team together and the rules say I can't comment," said Cowboys chief executive Peter Parr.

"But if the alleged victim is now saying he wasn't bitten and our player is adamant he didn't bite him ... you blokes work it out."

Match review committee chairman Greg McCallum dismissed comments attributed to Toopi on Tuesday.

"Our information is that he (Toopi) hasn't said that, that's incorrect," McCallum told AAP.

"(and) ... whether he said it or not would have no impact on the case going ahead.

"We're confident in the evidence we've got and in our ability to present that (to the judiciary) to close the case out."

Titans chief executive Michael Searle said the club, which had one of its players William Zillman suspended on a biting charge late last season when they claim he was innocent, supported Toopi's right to leave what happened on the field.

McCallum said it was his understanding that Toopi had said nothing to anybody, one way or the other.

"His response to us yesterday (Monday) was that he didn't want to get involved in the incident," said McCallum.

The judiciary has a tough time establishing biting or eye gouging allegations because players are reluctant to lodge an official complaint and video evidence can often be inconclusive.

However it's understood the match review committee believe Toopi's initial reaction, which came through the audio, and his swift approach to the referee, indicates strongly he thought he had been bitten at the time.

"In the absence of an official complaint we believe we have been able to pull together sufficient evidence to be able to pursue the matter without the accuser being part of our case," said McCallum.

"The video, audio and the players' action all help us form a view of what happened."

McCallum said it was, and would always be the match review committee's duty of care to police the game and pursue players who act outside of the rules.

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