French courts could expose IRB disciplinary system to ridicule
The panel said that Blackett, who had set Dupuy's ban at 40 weeks only to take 16 off for mitigating factors, had taken into account the need for deterrence when determining that Dupuy's offence merited top-level entry in terms of seriousness rather than as an aggravating factor.
But the trio agreed with Blackett that the two counts of making contact with Ferris' eye did, indeed, merit a top-end entry, which meant a minimum six-month ban.
French law decrees that because the ban was imposed outside the country, it has to be upheld by the LNR. Even if they uphold it, as the IRB are likely to insist, given the worldwide crackdown on the egregious crime, Stade may turn to the French courts, who traditionally sympathise in cases where a player's right to work is compromised. French coach Marc Lievremont has also declared that the ban is excessive.
Last year, there was a similar cause celebre when the Perpignan hooker, Marius Tincu, won his case in a French court after being banned for 18 weeks for gouging during a Heineken Cup match against Ospreys.
If the courts rule the same way in the case of Dupuy, the IRB's disciplinary system would be exposed to ridicule as the player's Heineken Cup ban would be allowed to stand, but he would be free to play in all other competitions.
Hence, it is entirely conceivable that the eye-gouger, Dupuy, and his victim, Ferris, could find themselves confronting each other once again when their countries clash in the Six Nations in Paris next month.