AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) CEO Stuart Totham has expressed AFLNT's disappointment with an article in today's NT News regarding the circumstances around the Leroy Larson case and makes the following comments;
“The report of the Leroy Larson proceeding in today’s NT News is inaccurate. The article misrepresents the way in which the Tribunal hearing and Appeal Board proceeded. At the Tribunal, St Mary’s Football Club (SMFC) legal representatives were able to examine witnesses and raise questions about the evidence, which they did. The Tribunal rejected the SMFC legal representative's submissions about what Larson said on the field.
Based on the evidence presented, the Tribunal found that Larson made the alleged remarks and subsequently found him guilty.
On Appeal, Larson was represented by Queens Counsel. The argument on appeal was that the Tribunal had committed an error of law. The Appeal Board, after hearing from Larson’s (SMFC's) legal counsel did not agree and were satisfied that the Tribunal below did not make an error of law. In the circumstances, the Appeal Board’s role was not to hear the case again but to examine the decision of the Tribunal and decide if the judgment below should be upheld or overturned.
The hearing in the Tribunal was conducted fairly to Larson. The Appeal Board upheld the original Tribunal’s hearing of the matter. On each occasion, Larson was legally represented, and in the Appeal he was represented by Queens Counsel.
The role of the Tribunal and its independence and the integrity of its Chair and members is beyond reproach and integral to the proper workings of the game. AFLNT has every confidence in both the Tribunal and Appeal Board panels, and the decision of the Tribunal stands."
AFLNT will make no further comment on this matter.