Referee report revealed following Josh McGuire ban

Josh McAllister
Josh McGuire. News Images

Warrington’s Josh McGuire was found guilty of unacceptable language earlier this week, and the minutes of his tribunal have since been released by the Rugby Football League. 

McGuire, 32, this week was handed a massive seven-game ban after being found guilty for a Grade F charge. His tribunal occurred on Tuesday night, with the new Wire recruit pleading not guilty.

However, the match review panel found the player guilty of unacceptable language, handing him a suspension and a £1000 fine. Meanwhile, Leigh’s Tom Amone was found not guilty of his charge.

Referee Marcus Griffiths sent off McGuire for the incident during the pre-season fixture between Warrington and Leigh. His report has since been revealed, stating: “In the 71st minute of the game, Warrington Wolves number 11 Ben Currie scored a try.

“After the try was awarded numerous players from both sides came together exchanging insults. At this point I witnessed Warrington Wolves number 13 Josh McGuire use unacceptable language relating to disability in abusing an opponent. He was then dismissed from the field.”

More tribunal minutes

Warrington head coach Daryl Powell was present for the tribunal alongside chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick and head of rugby operations Kyle Leuluai.

Further minutes of the tribunal, released by the Rugby Football League, explained the process. It stated: “JM (Josh McGuire) explained it had been a fiery game and he had exchanged words with the opponent following a try as he had taken exception to an incident in a previous tackle. He said emotions were running high and that the opposition has a number of former Warrington players in their side.

“He added he worked with the club’s PDRL team and had a disability himself. The word he had been accused of saying was not in his vocabulary and he again reiterated he had not said what had been accused.

“DP (Daryl Powell) addressed the tribunal and explained there was a lot of noise happening around the time of the incident as a try had just been scored. There were insults being exchanged between the teams, however, he felt that the witnesses were unclear. He noted that the referee has spent time in close proximity to the Leigh players before making his decision.

“He felt that JM would not have used the words he was accused of saying as he has a disability himself and works with both the club’s PDRL side and disabled soldiers in the local community. This was not in JM’s character and being found guilty of this charge would cause harm to JM. He concluded that there was too much doubt to find JM guilty.

“KF (Karl Fitzpatrick) felt that there was some doubt by the referee when questioned. He noted that the fourth official was closer to JM and the time of the alleged incident and that he did not report anything.

“He informed the tribunal that therReferee had talked to Peter Moran (Warrington Cone Technician) after the alleged incident and that if the incident had been so severe he would have sent JM off immediately.”

Decision explained against Josh McGuire case

Nevertheless, McGuire was found guilty of the charge. The reason for the decision explained: “The tribunal reminded itself of the burden of proof.

“The RFL must prove the case and whilst the tribunal acknowledged that the standard of proof should be somewhere between the balance of probabilities and beyond reasonable doubt, the tribunal concluded that bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation, the tribunal would only find the case proved if they reached a high standard approximate to beyond reasonable doubt. Nothing less would do.”

Josh McGuire forced to watched new team until April

It continued: “Accordingly, the tribunal asked itself whether it could be sure (beyond reasonable doubt) that the offending words were said by Mr McGuire. Could it have been someone else or could the witnesses have misheard?

“In considering that straightforward factual issue the tribunal reminded itself of two important principles.

“Firstly, whilst one person’s word can be sufficient to prove a case to the high standard required, namely approximate to beyond reasonable doubt, nevertheless in such circumstances caution needs to be applied.

“Secondly, the tribunal reminded itself that it must consider not only the issue of whether Mr Griffiths was deliberately telling lies but also the potential for Mr Griffiths having made an honest mistake. The same applied to the Leigh player who agreed to provide evidence.

“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.

“In reaching that conclusion, the tribunal had carefully considered the evidence of Mr Griffiths. The tribunal found him to be an impressive, detailed, straightforward and credible witness. He was categoric as to what he had heard.”

The minutes also explained how a Leigh player also shared that he heard McGuire’s exchange of words. The report continued: “The tribunal also heard from a Leigh player. He is not by definition an impartial witness being from the opposing team. Nevertheless, the tribunal found him to be an impressive witness. He was categoric that he heard the words said by Mr McGuire.

“It was obvious that he did not attend the hearing with enthusiasm at getting a fellow professional into trouble. On the contrary, he did not want to give evidence against Mr McGuire and did not want to describe the words he heard. It was only when pressed that he reluctantly described hearing the offending words. He was cross examined and challenged robustly by Mr Fitzpatrick, and he stood firm. He maintained the words were said. It was obvious he took no pleasure in giving evidence against Mr McGuire.”

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