Cian Healy cleared of biting Brett Sheehan
June 7, 2013
Ireland and Lions prop Cian Healy now must overcome injury © PA Photos
British & Irish Lions prop Cian Healy has been cleared of biting Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan after a two-and-a-half hour hearing in Brisbane.
Healy was cited for an alleged act "contrary to good sportsmanship" following the Lions' 69-17 victory in Perth on Wednesday night. But judicial officer Nigel Hampton, QC, hearing the case, cleared the Irishman having found insufficient evidence to support the allegation.
Hampton stated in his findings that, on the balance of probabilities, he was not satisfied Healy had bitten Sheehan. "There is no conclusive video evidence of the incident and post-match it was not possible to distinguish any discernible bite marks outside of the 'regular' marks usually found following a rugby match," he said. "I cannot find proven on the balance of probabilities that there was a deliberate bite here, and the citing complaint is not upheld."
Hampton determined that Sheehan's arm may have come in contact with Healy's mouth during the tackle, and it was likely that unavoidable contact between Healy's mouth and teeth and Sheehan's arm occurred due to the pressure of the tackle.
The decision means Healy is free to play on but his tour remains in doubt due to an ankle ligament injury suffered in the same match. "I am very relieved that the hearing has cleared me of such an allegation. I was naturally very disappointed that there was a citing in the first place," Healy said in a statement.
"I always maintained that nothing happened and that I had done nothing illegal. The opposition player's arm hit me. It is as simple as that. The support I had from the management and all the lads was wonderful and I am glad that it is all over."
Lions tour manager Andy Irvine was also delighted to see Healy cleared of any wrongdoing that he believes called the team's integrity into question. "The British & Irish Lions are very pleased with the outcome of today's judicial hearing in Brisbane," he said. "The Judicial Officer, Nigel Hampton QC, was extremely fair and thoroughly considered all the facts of the case in great detail.
"We always believed that Cian had done nothing wrong and had not acted maliciously in any way. The decision was important to the player's and indeed squad's integrity as the allegation was a serious one."
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