First Footballer jailed for on-field tackle
In an interesting case for anybody involved in playing sport Mark Chapman was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm upon an opponent.
Whilst there have been previous cases where on-field conduct has resulted in Prosecution and sentences of imprisonment those had been confined to conduct such as punching an opponent outside of the rules of the game.
This very much represents a first for the Courts as Mr Chapman was punished for a tackle which left the victim with a broken leg in two places and needed a steel rod inserting.
The key factor in this matter leading to a Prosecution was the view of the Referee that the studs up tackle was a callous deliberate act with intent to cause injury to the player.
Responding to the case Daven Naghen of our Criminal Department expressed his views on the matter:
“There has historically been an approach that what goes on on the field of play stays on the field of play. However there had been a gradual change whereby conduct outside of the rules of the game such as a punch or an elbow could be punished in the Criminal Courts. This goes one step further although it seems that it was the view of this being a deliberate act with the intent to cause injury that has resulted in a custodial sentence being passed.
I doubt that this will open the floodgates as proving that a tackle was deliberate and intending to cause harm will always be difficult and so even bad tackles that result in serious injury as long as they were merely careless should not be punished in the Criminal Courts. However, it is a stark warning for players who lose their temper and lash out that the end result could ultimately be prison.
Whilst Prison is the result in this case, players also need to be aware that they could find themselves before the Civil Courts in cases where serious injury occurs and could end up having to pay substantial amounts to the victim if they end up unable to work for a lengthy period of time.”
If you are accused of any Criminal or Motoring offence please do not hesitate to contact Daven Naghen or Anita Toal of our offices for assistance. If you have been injured by the actions of another person contact Daven Naghen of our Personal Injury Department.