Josh McGuire ban: Josh Charnley a “credible and impressive” witness as details of slur emerge

Josh McAllister
Josh Charnley, Josh McGuire.

The Rugby Football League have released further details on the independent tribunal decision that saw Warrington forward Josh McGuire slapped with a massive 12-match ban.

McGuire, 33, was found guilty of “unacceptable language” for the second time this season on Tuesday evening, but holds the right to appeal the decision.

The overseas Australian recruit was forced to wait until Super League Round Eight to make his competitive debut after being found guilty of the same charge during pre-season against Leigh, then hit with a seven-match ban.

Minutes released by the RFL confirmed that the Round 13 incident involved a slur aimed at opposition winger Josh Charnley, who made a formal complaint to the official during the fixture.

Charnley, 31, reiterated his account of the events in a follow up statement which included the confirmation of a disabled slur.

During the course of the hearing, the match review panel admitted it saw no reason to disbelieve the Leigh winger, crediting him as a ‘impressive, credible and balanced witness’.

On the contrary, McGuire was believed to not have been.

“The tribunal had no hesitation in concluding that Josh McGuire was guilty…”

The Warrington star recruit admitted to calling Charnley a “rat” during an ‘aggressive game’ and pleaded not guilty to the unacceptable language charge.

Minutes confirmed: “The tribunal concluded that the RFL had proved to a high standard, approximate to beyond reasonable doubt that Mr McGuire had said the offending words. Accordingly, the tribunal had no hesitation in concluding that Mr McGuire was guilty of breaching rule 15.1 (f).”

The statement read that Charnley ‘took no pleasure’ in making the accusations but felt ‘compelled’ to do so having regard to the seriousness of the offence.

It also confirmed that the words used were personal to a member of Charnley’s family.

McGuire informed the tribunal that he had no knowledge about Charnley or his family and that the words he was alleged to have used would not be something he would say.

Finding McGuire guilty, the tribunal believed this his accounts ‘lacked credibility’ and instead the ex-Queensland representative ‘concentrated on making statements as to his character and why he would not use the words rather than focusing upon the events’.

Fellow Warrington team-mates Joe Philbin and Sam Kasiano were also called as witnesses and were cross-examined by both sides, although the tribunal felt the pair ‘added nothing to the issue’ as they were considerable distance away from the incident (five to 10 metres).

McGuire’s previous and recent offence was also taken into consideration when the tribunal came to their decision of a monster 12-match ban, having then received education.

The independent operational rules tribunal was chaired by His Honour Judge John Thackray QC, with two former professional players as side members.

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