Bill Potts comments on Aussie Rules player Daniel Lock’s penalty
Our Founding Director and current Queensland Law Society Deputy President, Bill Potts, was interviewed by Janessa Ekert of the Cairns Post. He commented on the penalty imposed by the Queensland District Court at Cairns on Aussie Rules veteran, Daniel Lock, who plead guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.
Former Queensland Law Society president & criminal lawyer Bill Potts said the result was unsurprising and it would have taken extreme gratuitous violence completely outside the play to result in a custodial sentence. He said the precedent for this type of case was set during the ’80s and involved former Brisbane Lions coash Leigh Matthews while he was Hawthorn captain.
“He assaulted someone behind the line of play causing grievous bodily harm,” Mr Potts said.
“The rules say this: we consent to certain types of violence. For example if you’re in a boxing match you consent to being hit.”
Mr Potts said the rules of the game allowed for “a reasonable degree of violence in pursuit of the ball but not of the man”.
“The cultural issue is that we tend to accept a degree of violence even though it’s outside the rules,” he said.
“If this person had done the same thing in the street outside a pub he would be facing a significant jail sentence.”
Mr Potts said that most people did not think criminal law applied to the sporting field. “Simple lesson is, it does and it ought to,” he said.
However Mr Potts said that where it appeared to be in the heat of the moment in play, even though it was illegal, the courts would not impose a crushing sentence.
“The courts are not sending a message this this is OK (or) that they are soft on crime,” he said.