Police investigate on-field brawl

July 4, 2015

Saskatoon, SK


ORIGINAL STORY by Andrea Hill StarPhoenix


If Saskatoon police choose to press charges against an Argentinian softball player who punched an opposing player this week, it will likely cause "great interest" internationally, says a University of Saskatchewan law professor.

Glen Luther, an associate professor at the U of S College of Law, said there have been several high-profile cases in which hockey players were charged with assault causing bodily harm for incidents during games, but he can't recall a case in which a softball player was charged.

"Hockey is somewhat different than softball in the sense that there is a certain amount of contact that's part of the game," he said.

Argentinian player Santiago Nicolas Carril was suspended from the WBSC Men's World Softball Championships in Saskatoon Thursday after coming off the bench and punching a Great Britain player in the face during a brawl in the sixth inning.

Three other players - two from Argentina and one from Great Britain - also received suspensions of one or two games for their roles in the melee.

Saskatoon police Const. Bill Bergeron said the service received a report about the brawl and an investigation is underway. He said police reports about violence during sporting events are "not common at all" for local officers. "In fact, I can't remember the last one," he said.

The softball championships are scheduled to wrap up Sunday. Bergeron said police have the travel dates of all players involved and the case is "being looked at right away."

Luther said the international nature of the players involved could make Saskatoon law enforcement reluctant to prosecute the case.

"The police have to make a judgment - do they think that this is in the public interest to prosecute?" he asked. "There would be a considerable expense that would be undertaken to prosecute this case."

If the Argentinian player is charged and the case goes to trial, Great Britain and Argentinian players would have to be flown in to testify at Saskatchewan taxpayers' expense, Luther said.

"The prosecution will have to make that judgment as to whether it's worth it or not, and I suspect they will decide it's not."



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