AOC probe into D'Arcy widens - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AOC probe into D'Arcy widens

By Mike Osborne 02/04/2008 08:02:21 PM Comments (0)

An Australian Olympic Committee investigation into Nick D'Arcy is looking at another alleged incident involving the swimmer and an ironman competitor 18 months ago.

D'Arcy, who has been charged with assault but pleaded on Wednesday not to be subjected to trial by media, will be asked to front the joint AOC-Swimming Australia probe.

AOC vice president Peter Montgomery was asked about the August 2006 incident involving ironman Tim Peach after chairing Wednesday's first meeting of the joint investigation into D'Arcy's place on the Australian team for the Beijing Olympics.

"I'd prefer not to make any further comments at the moment," he told journalists.

"As you can understand it's very complicated. It's complicated because of the criminal proceedings.

"We want to observe the principles of natural justice."

The joint AOC-SA investigation must decide whether D'Arcy takes his place in Beijing or whether he is cut from the Olympic team for bringing his sport into disrepute over the late night bar incident which left retired swimmer Simon Cowley with multiple facial injuries, including a broken jaw and nose.

D'Arcy is due in court on April 21, two days before the swim team gathers at a camp in Canberra, to face charges of assault and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

The swimmer said in a statement he regretted the "unfortunate isolated incident" at the Loft Bar in Sydney.

"I deeply regret my involvement in this incident and the injury occasioned to Simon Cowley," he said.

"I sincerely regret the embarrassment caused to Australian swimming, the Australian Olympic swimming team and to my family."

D'Arcy said he did not want the widespread and conflicting reports about the incident to take precedence over a fair trial, and pleaded with the media to let the matter run its course through the judicial system.

"I, like all individuals, am entitled to a fair trial and due process through the judicial system," he said.

"I do not therefore wish to become embroiled in a trial by media where public opinion is seen to take precedence over the judicial system.

"Although I have been charged, the NSW Police investigation is still underway, and is in its early stages. The NSW Police are yet obtain statements from a number of witnesses to the incident.

"I therefore implore the media to allow the judicial system to reach an informed determination of the matters concerning me at this time."

If found guilty of the charges D'Arcy could face a jail term, but the legal proceedings are unlikely to be resolved before the Beijing Games, which start on August 8.

His Olympic fate rests with the AOC, but D'Arcy said he had trained with "great intensity, sacrifice and discipline" with his coach Brian Stehr for many years to reach the elite level of Australian swimming and to qualify for a place in Beijing.

Swimming Australia spokesman Ian Hanson said the joint investigation would look to resolve the matter sooner rather than later.

"From my discussions I think they want this matter cleared up as quickly as they can," he said.

"It is not easy to go forward with the court case hanging over everyone's head."

When asked if D'Arcy could be banned from swimming altogether, Hanson said that was a decision for Swimming Australia.

"If they believe that Nick has brought swimming into disrepute, that is a decision to be made by SA," he said.

Hanson also played down claims by Olympic champion Kieren Perkins of a drinking culture in swimming.

"I was really surprised to hear that, I think Kieren has been out of touch with that situation," he said.

"I have been part of this team since 1990, I have had a daughter (Brooke Hanson) on this team for a long time - and that could not be further from the truth."

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