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“Not an appeal” – Derek Beaumont hits out over John Asiata reports

Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont has financed the club and built yet another very strong squad for 2024.

When Leigh Leopards released a statement confirming John Asiata’s Grade A charge being dropped at tribunal it seemed that the near-month-long saga had finally ended, but club owner Derek Beaumont has relit the flames.

The whole ordeal began when John Asiata copped a Grade A charge for ‘dangerous contact’ when he made a tackle attempt on Sione Mata’utia in Leigh’s game with St Helens way back on March 1st.

Despite the Leigh skipper not being served with a ban the club still decided to challenge that charge on the grounds of it being the right thing to do by their player as they felt he was totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

As such they chose to take the charge to the disciplinary tribunal held every Tuesday night by the RFL, however, with owner Derek Beaumont out of the country the tribunal was kicked down the road until this week, three weeks after the incident.

Leigh Leopards were ultimately successful in their appeal, something the RFL confirmed last night and the club then confirmed today with a strong statement of support for Asiata that challenged those who had tried to tarnish his character.

Only now, Derek Beaumont is claiming that the appeal wasn’t actually an appeal. Just when you thought the show was over, it’s been reignited.

Club owner Beaumont took to X to react to a news piece reporting on the successful ‘appeal’, something that promoted a clarification from the Leopards’ owner.

Derek Beaumont posted: “This was not an appeal it was a challenge to the grade A charge. You first challenge a charge if unsuccessful you can appeal the decision. John has never been found guilty of the charge one was brought against him by MRP and independent KC and panel found no charge to answer.”

So what actually is the truth?

Trying to make sense of the John Asiata saga

Leigh Leopards star John Asiata against Wigan Warriors

Credit: Imago Images

What Derek Beaumont is effectively arguing is that a player is only guilty of a charge once they either accept the charge or a tribunal upholds a charge, for the past three weeks and more John Asiata has fit into neither category.

He hadn’t accepted the charge and obviously, the tribunal hadn’t been held, therefore there was no guilt on the behalf of Asiata.

An appeal would be to try and overturn a guilty verdict, whereas what Leigh Leopards did was contest the charge that would ultimately either find Asiata guilty or not guilty.

As it turned out the tribunal and the independent KC (a barrister recognised as King’s Counsel for their high degree of work) found in the club’s favour meaning there was no charge to answer. Had Asiata been found guilty then the club could have appealed that decision.

It’s a very confusing case of legal jargon and it’s made worse by what the RFL themselves reported when Asiata had his charge removed.

In their statement, the RFL explained: “Leigh Leopards were successful in their appeal against a Grade A charge issued to John Asiata after the Betfred Super League fixture against St Helens. Asiata was found not guilty, and the charge will therefore be removed from the player’s record.”

Serious About Rugby League have since contacted the RFL who have confirmed that Derek Beaumont is in fact correct, charges are challenged, whereas the result of a charge (where one is found guilty) can then be appealed against.

Fans might recall that St Helens decided to appeal a guilty plea in the 2023 season.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Gary Newlove

    March 27, 2024 at 11:51 pm

    Go for it Derek the game is dying,needs a guy like you to revive it! But not sure if it’s already beyond saving! But you have my support!

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