EPISODE 5: Assault on the sports field

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A violent on-field incident in the AFL (Australian Football League) led to calls for police to bring criminal charges against one of the league's best players.

West Coast player Andrew Gaff was suspended for eight matches for punching 18-year-old Fremantle player Andrew Brayshaw behind play.

Brayshaw underwent surgery on a broken jaw and required further treatment for three broken teeth. The teenager's first season in the game came to an abrupt and violent end.

The hit prompted calls for all sorts of things; from a red card system in the AFL, to criminal charges and even jail time.

Can you be charged with assault for punching an opponent on the sports field?

“We have had other assaults on Victorian streets, and streets in Sydney and Perth, where people go to jail and lose their liberty for similar offences," says legal expert Dr Eric Windholz from Monash Law School.

On this episode of Just Cases we explore a similarly notorious incident in 1985. It led to the criminal prosecution of Leigh Matthews - a giant of Australian rules football regarded by many to be the greatest footballer to have ever played the game.

Storyteller: Dr Eric Windholz, Monash Law School

Hosts: Dr Melissa Castan & James Pattison

Topics for law nerds: Criminal law, assault, sports law, defences, consent, trials, courts, police discretion


MUSIC IN THIS EPISODE

  

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