Bloodgate physio Brennan wins appeal
January 21, 2011
Former Quins physio Steph Brennan escorts winger Tom Williams from the field during the infamous Heineken Cup clash with Leinster in 2009 © Getty Images
Former Harlequins physiotherapist Steph Brennan has won a High Court battle over the Health Professions Council decision to strike him off for his part in the "Bloodgate" affair.
Lawyers for the top physio accused the Health Professions Council (HPC) of unlawfully imposing a "one strike and you are out for good" approach to his case. They argued that his conduct had merited a sanction, but not one of such "gross severity". Today Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting at London's High Court, quashed the decision against him and ordered the HPC's conduct and competence committee to reconsider the case.
Brennan, who helped fabricate the blood injury to winger Tom Williams during Harlequins' Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster in April 2009, had been due to start work with the Rugby Football Union as an England physio until his role in the systematic use of fake-blood capsules during matches was exposed.
He admitted five instances of faking blood injuries, the first of which happened during Harlequins' 2005-06 season. On three occasions this was for player welfare, while Brennan said the fourth was to get an unnamed player in a key position on to the pitch following the sin-binning of a team-mate.
Stephen Brassington, for the HPC, argued that the striking-off order was not open to legal challenge. He rejected accusations that panel members had failed to give adequate reasons and explain in their decision how they had dealt with Brennan's expressions of sorrow and remorse.
"His expressions of remorse and sorrow simply were too little too late, " said Brassington.
Brennan's misconduct "was so egregious and damaging to the reputation of his profession that the only appropriate way to deal with it was striking-off".
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