Isipathana responds | Sunday Observer

Isipathana responds

The chairman of the Isipathana College Rugby Management and Development Committee (ICRMDC) Mr. Shabeen Siddik has sent the Sunday Observer the following response to the violent incidents at the Milo tournament semi final rugby match between their team and St. Peter’s College at the Royal Sports Complex ground which was reported by the Sunday Observer.

The Response also contained accusations about other schools, their players and individuals which were not connected to the match incident and unsubstantiated, and edited accordingly on Legal advice.

The Response: With reference to the article published on 14th of July 2019, in the Sunday Observer by your writer Callistus Davy, with the headline “Isipathana players assault Peterites”, we are within our right to respond and we believe that due publicity would be given in your next publication without any bias.

The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution must, in most cases, prove that the accused is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. If any reasonable doubt remains, the accused must be acquitted.

Going by the accepted norms as stated above, it seems that your writer had assumed that a commotion had taken place between two players, at the Independence end. It is claimed to have been witnessed by your writer from the grandstand end. According to evidence surfacing on social media and some of the videos and photographs which are with us including commentators remarks, just after the Referee concluded the game, it is evident that a player who had been enrolled to play Rugby for St. Peter’s College, from a school in Pandura, had started “First” by assaulting an opponent player.

Thereafter, it was seen that a few supporters from both Colleges had got involved. The situation was soon brought under control within minutes and well managed by the Police with the help of much-respected old boys from both schools.

Readers would agree that, this article which was supposed to cover about 70 minutes of rugby played between two schools had indeed not mentioned anything about the game per say, except the final score line. On the contrary, it has only highlighted about the 2 minutes incident which has had no bearing on the final result. There was no incident reported by the officials and the Referee managed the game pretty well.

We all are aware that rugby is a body contact game and at some point temperaments are bound to fly high and it is brought under control by Referees. It must also be pointed out that the Referee’s Report indicates this as an incident free game concluded.

Shabeen Siddik
(Chairman ICRMDC)

Note by Sports Editor: It is noted that Mr Siddik has not contradicted anything in our report that said an Isipathana player had kicked a Peterite player who had fallen on the ground after he was caught up in the violence followed by a young Peterite boy assaulted by Isipathana supporters a few feet away from a posse of policeman.

Siddik says the referee’s report did not state any acts of violence. As far as we know the referee’s report covers incidents that take place during the 70 minutes of play and are not bound to report what happens after the final whistle is blown which is a Law and Order issue.

Siddik says that the reporter had “assumed a commotion took place between two players at the Independence end.” We’d like to remind Mr. Siddik that reporters don’t have to assume anything what they see in public that others have also seen. The inquiry called by Sri Lanka Rugby and the subsequent acknowledgement by the Match Commissioner that violence took place after the match bore testimony to the Sunday Observer report.

Siddik also says the report did not contain anything about the match. The match report was published separately on the same page under the headline “St. Peter’s muscle into final.” Anyone with eyes could not have missed the match report.