Garnsey hits out at Tandy sacking - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Garnsey hits out at Tandy sacking

22/03/2011 08:25:44 PM Comments (0)

Rugby League Players Association chief David Garnsey slammed Canterbury's decision to sack Ryan Tandy and called on NRL clubs to respect a player's right to remain silent when quizzed about a matter that's before a criminal court.

Tandy, who faces four charges of providing false or misleading evidence to the NSW Crime Commission, was axed by the Bulldogs last week after refusing to answer questions about the charges.

The 29-year-old prop's charges followed investigations into suspicious betting activity on last year's round 24 encounter between North Queensland and the Bulldogs.

"The NRL rules should be amended to prevent players' careers from being adversely affected before they have had a chance to defend themselves," Garnsey said in a statement on Tuesday.

"It is not an offence, as I understand it, for a person to refuse to answer questions, including questions that may tend to incriminate them, asked by persons other than investigating authorities.

"On the other hand, the privilege against self-incrimination is a long-standing cornerstone of the criminal law."

Garnsey noted that Canterbury acted on legal advice in sacking Tandy and stressed he was not seeking to enter into a debate about whether the dismissal was lawful.

"Mr Tandy has legal representation and no doubt the question of legality will be pursued by his lawyers as they see fit," he said.

"My belief ... is that the proper place to hear evidence and determine guilt or innocence is the trial of the accused, with all the safeguards that that process guarantees.

"To force an accused player to participate in a pre-trial interview or hearing, while criminal charges are pending, for the purpose of determining the facts, is effectively to usurp the trial.

"I have repeatedly said in recent weeks in relation to other matters that the presumption of innocence is paramount and the NRL itself has acted in accordance with that presumption.

"For a club to rely on a player's silencebefore he has had his day in court as grounds for dismissal, on the other hand, seems to me to be proceeding on the basis of a presumption of guilt."

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