The 2021 Rugby League season is over for Hunslet threequarter Aaron Jones-Bishop.
The Jamaican international will be kicking his heels for the remainder of the campaign, and during the early stages of next season, after being found guilty by the Rugby Football League’s Disciplinary Panel of biting in the Betfred League 1 game at Rochdale Hornets on Sunday 22 August. He has been suspended for eight matches – a ban that remains in place despite the Parksiders having mounted a strong appeal on his behalf.
A club spokesperson stated: “Hunslet represented Aaron Jones-Bishop this week at the disciplinary tribunal. Aaron was charged on two counts from a melee in the Rochdale match. The charges were for Punching Grade C and for `other contrary behaviour – Biting – Grade F’. Aaron pleaded not guilty to both counts and the club, having reviewed the substantial video evidence of the incident, supported him.
“Rochdale Hornets player Rob Fairclough was also charged from the same incident in the 20th minute for Punching Grade C and was also cited after a match officials’ report of `discriminatory abuse’ in the same game.
“Hunslet and Aaron presented evidence and a defence of both charges; the allegations and charges of punching were subsequently dismissed by the Panel.
“The biting charge was claimed by Rob Fairclough to have taken place and was denied, by Aaron Jones-Bishop, to have taken place. Video evidence did not show any bite taking place.
“The biting charge was upheld by the panel on `balance of probability’ and they also pointed out that they did not have to prove that the bite had occurred `beyond reasonable doubt’. Jones-Bishop, who has a very good disciplinary record and is of good character, wore a mouthguard throughout the entire incident, and strenuously denies the charge.
“Hunslet appealed the decision and a hearing was held on Thursday 2 September. The appeal was a review of the original process taken by the Panel and, despite a number of basic administrative errors by the RFL’s Compliance Officer (for which an apology was given to the tribunal, club, and player) no sufficient breaches of process or law could be proven to overturn the decision.
“The outcome is disappointing and Aaron received the minimum eight-match ban associated with the charge and grading.“