Injured People

Media: New laws for violence in sport would create “nanny state”


MEDIA: Tindall Gask Bentley managing partner Morry Bailes says introducing new laws to counter violence in sport is unnecessary.

22/8/11 – Morry Bailes interviews: ABC News, 7 News, 9 News, 10 News, the Advertiser (AdelaideNow)

Tindall Gask Bentley managing partner Morry Bailes says introducing new laws to counter violence on the sporting field is unnecessary.

Mr Bailes, who is also Treasurer at Law Society of SA, said while its right for Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire to raise the issue, current laws relating to assault are enough to cover violence in sport.

“The laws are there already and I don’t think there’s any grey area, it’s just a matter of the victim complaining and the Police doing something about it,” Mr Bailes said.

“I would’ve thought that if you start having criminality for an on-field affray people who are innocent of any other wrongdoing could get caught up in the law, which is a nanny state scenario, and is undesireable.”

Mr Bailes said it’s up to players and associations to stop condoning violent acts, and press charges if the matter is serious enough.

“We need to change our attitude towards policing the matter, and our attitude towards criminality, if it happens on the sporting field,” Mr Bailes said.

“For some reason there has been a reticence to actually charge people with that type of offending, even though throwing a punch at someone out of the course of play constitutes an assault.

“This is probably for a few reasons; there is a fair chance the person on the receiving end of the punch is not going to complain, there’s moral pressure not to be a ‘whinger’, and some view it as within the parameters of sport.

 “We need to ask ourselves as a society, is violence on the sporting field ok?

“Perhaps we need to take a stand and say this isn’t acceptable, we shouldn’t let our children see this, it perpetuates a game of violence, why should we permit this in society?”

 As well as criminal charges, victims of yesterday’s violent soccer match at North Adelaide may also be able to claim injury compensation.

“In the civil law, assault is known as ‘assault and battery’ and you can sue for the injuries sustained,” Mr Bailes said.

The clubs or association involved are unlikely to be held liable, because a person who commits a criminal act is most likely to be acting as an individual.

Nevertheless, associations may be liable in negligence if clubs or club supporters have a history of violence and the association deals inadequately with the question of security.