A fair hearing no longer possible because of the disclosure of information
The Stormers' judicial hearing has been postponed for a second time this week in order to ensure the Cape Town-based franchise get a 'fair' hearing.
This follows a complaint made to SANZAR about alleged misconduct by the Stormers and their team management during their match against the Hurricanes in Palmerston North last month.
Neither SANZAR nor the Stormers would say what the mysterious complaint related to. SANZAR stressed it would not comment beyond a two-sentence statement because the matter was before a judicial officer.
However, according to reports in the New Zealand media the assistant referee Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri was subjected to "constant criticism" for the duration of the match, including being told he needed to go back to club rugby.
According to 3 News Eden-Whaitiri accused Stormers officials of calling him a 'cheat', subjecting him to constant swearing and abuse including the suggestion that he should go back to club rugby and that he had a cross on a chest for his performance as an assistant referee in Palmerston North.
On Thursday a SANZAR statement revealed that the hearing was postponed again, to find a new judge that would produce a fair hearing.
SANZAR said they will appoint a new judicial officer and set a date and time for the new hearing in due course.
"A SANZAR judicial hearing commenced on Tuesday, May 7, to hear complaints of matchday misconduct against the Stormers and their team management relating to the Hurricanes versus Stormers Super Rugby match played on April 26 in Palmerston North, New Zealand," the statement read.
"This hearing was adjourned at the request of Stormers management.
"Upon resumption of the hearing tonight [Thursday], judicial officer Adam Casselden could not proceed due to concerns that a fair hearing was no longer possible because of the disclosure of certain information to him.
"Casselden has referred the misconduct complaints to a new SANZAR judicial officer in the belief that a new hearing is necessary in the interests of fairness to all parties.
"SANZAR will appoint a new judicial officer and set a date and time for the new hearing in due course."
At the direction of the judicial officer, SANZAR and the Stormers will make no further comments at this time.