Player gets life-time ban from the sport for punching referee

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The Manawatu Rugby Union has handed out its heaviest possible sanction to the club player who punched a referee, banning him from the sport for life.

A judiciary hearing was held for Pama Paisami on Wednesday night and they wasted little time handing him the nation-wide ban for “misconduct- physical abuse of a referee by a player”.

Paisami, a 27-year-old labourer, pleaded guilty to assaulting the referee in the Palmerston North District Court on July 12.

Judge Lance Rowe convicted Paisami and he was remanded on bail until August 23.

The incident occurred at fulltime of a Freyberg Bs versus Linton Army Bs rugby match at Linton Army Camp on July 9.

According to the summary of facts released by the court, Paisami punched referee Paul Van Deventer in the face knocking him to the ground.

Van Deventer suffered a broken nose, needed stitches for a cut and had “a pounding headache”, the summary said.

Paisami said he hit Van Deventer because he was upset about some calls made during the match and the result.

Freyberg lost the game 28-23.

According to guidelines set by New Zealand Rugby, Paisami faced a ban of 12-weeks to life, but the precedent in recent cases for players over-18 has been life bans.

Manawatu Rugby Union chief executive John Knowles was pleased with the ruling from the judiciary.

“I think it was a fair and reasonable punishment for the crime,” he said. “It satisfies us in terms of the injury that was sustained by the referee.”

“We do not want any of that sort of activity or behaviour in any of our rugby here. Players like that are just not welcome in our province.”

The ban also got the tick of approval from Manawatu Referee’s Association president Dylan Earle.

“We are happy with the outcome of the judiciary,” he said. “It sends a clear message that this behaviour is not acceptable.”

Earle said Van Deventer was recovering well and was due to return to his refereeing duties soon.

Paisami was also given a life-ban from the Freyberg Rugby Club.

The club’s board met the day after the incident occurred to make the decision..

At the time, chairman Andrew Wood said it was an easy option to take.

“It is not part of our culture, or who we want to be,” he said. “Unfortunately the actions of one has tarnished us. There is no room for that as far as we are concerned so he is gone.”

The Manawatu Rugby Union were forced to wait until after Paisami’s court hearing to hold their judiciary hearing.

Paisami was given the option to wait until after sentencing since anything said at the judiciary hearing could be used in court, but he opted to go ahead with the hearing regardless.

 – Stuff

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