India in England 2014 August 3, 2014

Lewis urges immediate Code of Conduct review


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Giles: Off the field, this behaviour completely unnecessary

The ICC's Code of Conduct has come in for strong rebuke from judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis. He had to overturn the ICC's original decision to not allow Ravindra Jadeja an appeal against the guilty Level 1 verdict handed out by match referee David Boon. Lewis has said the code needs to be clearer.

Lewis first shed light on why Jadeja was allowed an appeal. The original charge had been under Level 2.

Even though this was Jadeja's second Level 1 offence within 12 months, the ICC had initially disallowed an appeal because the two offences had been under two different codes. His first offence, in November 2013, was under 2.1.4 (Using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting), but this one was under 2.1.8 (a 'catch-all' provision to cover minor breaches not specifically mentioned by the Code of Conduct).

However, eventually Jadeja was allowed an appeal, which came up for hearing in front of Lewis on the same day that he heard the Level 3 charge against Anderson.

Lewis's verdict said that because any appeal against a match referee's decision is heard afresh by a disciplinary commissioner, the appeal conditions of the original charge should apply, and not the one the player has been found guilty of. That was the reason why the appeal was granted.

"The Match Referee had reduced the level of the charge against Jadeja to level 1 and pursuant to Article 8.1.1 an appeal against a level 1 offence is not permitted," he wrote. "However, because any appeal from a decision of a Match Referee is heard de novo [as a fresh case] by a Disciplinary Commissioner, I ruled that any rulings by the Match Referee no longer had any effect and a Commissioner commences the Hearing of the appeal with a clean sheet, that is with the charge against Jadeja in its original form i.e. alleging a level 2 offence and was thus appellable."

His ruling, Lewis explained, follows the practice generally adopted in Australia where an appeal against any decision involves a hearing de novo. "However," he noted, "my ruling highlights the need for this article in the Code to be clarified."

Even if Lewis had not ruled so, there is ambiguity in the ICC's Code of Conduct. 8.2.1 of the Code mentions that players who are found guilty of a second Level 1 offence within 12 months can appeal the second decision, with no mention that the two offences must be under the same article for the second to be appealable.

Article 8.1.1 says: "Decisions made under the Code of Conduct by a Match Referee in relation to a first Level 1 Offence shall be non-appealable and shall remain the full and final decision in relation to the matter."

8.2.1. says: "Decisions made under the Code of Conduct by a Match Referee in relation to: (a) a second, third or fourth Level 1 Offence within the applicable twelve month period; or (b) a Level 2 Offence; or (c) a Minimum Over Rate Offence, may be challenged solely by appeal as set out in this Article 8.2. Such decision shall remain in effect while under appeal unless any Judicial Commissioner properly convened to hear the appeal orders otherwise."

The ICC's rule covering the determination of sanctions is far more specific than the rule covering appeals. It has referred to this rule - Article 7.2 - while explaining why Jadeja's previous indiscretion hadn't been considered when determining the sanction for the current case.

Article 7.2 says: In order to determine the sanction that is to be imposed in each case, the Match Referee or Judicial Commissioner must first consider whether the Player or Player Support Personnel has previously been found guilty of an offence under the same Article of the Code of Conduct (or any predecessor regulations that may have applied) within a period of twelve months prior to the date on which the alleged offence took place.

Even in the verdict's conclusion, Lewis criticised the Code of Conduct. "Finally, as a newly appointed Judicial Commissioner, I urge the ICC to conduct an immediate review of its Code of Conduct, as these proceedings have highlighted a number of inadequacies in the Code and situations with which it cannot easily cope."

Jadeja's charge was dropped altogether after his appeal because of conflicting witnesses, heavily biased towards their own teams, and with no proper audio or video evidence to prove anyone's guilt.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on August 5, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    It's over man. move on.

    I honestly would like to see a feisty Anderson 'on the field' vs. India.

    If Jimmy comes out in top that'll be great to watch; if India come out on top that'll be great to watch.

    To Old Trafford!

  • vijay on August 4, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    I would have loved if Jadeja/BCCI were not allowed to appeal which would have left him with 50% of match fee for turning but left Anderson not guilty despite his acceptance to abuse and physical contact. ICC.. you were just saved in proving how useless you are!

  • niaz on August 4, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    Sledging needs to be banned. Microphones near the wicket should solve it. Bowlers have to earn the wickets by bowling well, Not by unsettling the batsmen with sledging or arguments..

  • Jason on August 4, 2014, 14:01 GMT

    @Niall, actually the jury considers the evidence, NOT the law, and to weigh up whether the evidence presented is of a quality to be beyond reasonable doubt. It is not the Jury's duty to consider the law, that is done by the judge. Who will direct a jury down particular legal avenues, often you hear of a judge directing in a murder trial that a guilty verdict is not appropriate, but a Manslaughter guilty verdict is more appropriate.

  • rob on August 4, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    @ Niall: Yeah , that's fair enough. Also, judges come from the ranks of the lawyers. You got me, I'll pull my head in. .. I still think that way though. I know plenty of lawyers who have absolutely no intention of ever becoming Judges. They don't see any fun in it. .. btw, our justice system is pretty solid too. As far as I can tell at least.

  • Mandesh on August 4, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    Why are the teams allowed to decide the Level of charges. it should be decided by the Match Referee and on-field umpires, then there will be no ambiguity. The teams/umpires should also inform the Match Referee and let him decide the level.

  • Amarjit on August 4, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    This clears the question marks in the hearts many fans like me who have followed the game since child, that there was nothing dubious and the judge went by the book not how things must blame a lawyer is like telling some to find another means for livelihood. While the judge has asked for an early review what also needs to be added to this to find means of finding ways to nip the incidents waiting to happen in the bud, this was marginally lower than ear biting in Soccer WC2014 though the later game has probably the largest fan base amongst the major games. A few gestures may be allowed and nothing more , the players must understand that the game carry the tag of Gentleman

  • NIall on August 4, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    I can't be the only one surprised that yet another thing the ICC has produced turns out to be significantly flawed. Perhaps next time they might gather together a set of ex Test captains and Umpires to work on a plain language code, that competent lawyers can then word appropriately.

    @dunger.bob - Assuming your "average lawyer" is an advocate, you seem to be criticising them for doing their job. The jurist's job is to consider the appropriate law, the advocates to argue based on law and evidence and the judge, well to decide what is proven and what serves justice. (In jursidictions based on English law)

  • rob on August 4, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    If I can get away with it, I'd like to philosophise for a moment. This is why I have scant respect for your average lawyer, but absolutely love judges. Lawyers want to win the case in front of them, judges want to see that justice is served. There's a huge, massive and un-traversable gap between them in so many cases it's just not funny anymore.

    Anyway, @ landl47 and @TheLongHandle: Both excellent points gentlemen. If we can somehow bring the two together we might be able to just get on with the cricket. .. Which is all I really want.

  • Roderick on August 4, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    In effect an independent assessment of the Code of Conduct has considered it to be lacking, therefore it is a no-brainer that there must be a formal review as soon as is practicable. However, in parallel there must be consideration given to how, and how proactively the Code is applied and policed during matches. A nice, new, bright and shiny Code of Conduct will be worth naught if it is not applied appropriately, and policed rigorously.

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