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IF A BOWLER KILLED A BATSMAN; CRIMINAL LIABILITY?
BOARD OF CONTROL'S BODY-LINE OR LARWOOD'S
"FAST LEG THEORY" BOWLING
Apart Irorn its unhappy reper- cussions on an-already unhappy ? cricket world, what ? would bo tho
effect In law if a.cricketer died as thc result of heine struck by a l»nll from a bowler who would be de- scribed by thc Australian Board of Control as a "body-lino" bowler, nnd by Larwood as one who bowled "fast leg theory"?
The question, following tho hot con- troversy which has arisen from Lar wood's bowling during the English tour, probably prompted the debate promoted' by a Sydney 'debating society recently on thc possible crimi- nal liability of any player who plays a lawful game in such n way as to cause injury to another player.
Now official consideration has been given to the question by the authori- tative publication, tho "Police Jour- nal," but it does not offer a solution.
Tho journal is a quarterly review for the police forces of tho Empire, and is published in London under offi- cial jjatronngc. It circulates in America as well as through the Empire.
Talking of criminal liability of a player of sport, the journal states '.that on the- subject of cricket it knows of no judicial decision, but quotes thc following opinion express- ed by tho author of "Jervis on
... .'.'A' bowler deliberately ? sending down fast balls on a dangerous wicket to frighten the batsman, might if he, killed him, bo guilty of »ucl recklessness if he was indifferent u. .to whether he hurt him or not, thai is, such recklessness us would make il an unlawful act for which he could bc convicted of manslaughter."
i "There, perhaps, wo may leave it,' I continues thc 'Journal' cautiously, ";u
tho best available guidance for ii constable who might not only bc a spectator of a village match but unlucky enough to find him- self a witness of a bowling ex- ploit of this nature.
"Fortunately, generations of crick- eters throughout' tho English-speak- ing world 'have set such a standard that cricket has become a by-word for fairness; and there is no reason 'x fear that anyone will ever depart sc far from this exalted standard us cc attract the notice of the law."
Reported English law provides prc' cèdent in other '.sports for the con- clusion in cricket'" drawn I by Jervis.
In 1878 a football. player was charged with the manslaughter ol another player whose death rc suited from the prisoner chnrgin;; him and striking him in thc stomacl
with his knee.
Lord Justice Bramwell, after point ing out that it was not necessary foi the jurymen to concern themsclvc; with the rules of football, directed tin jury that if tho prisoner intended t< cause serious injury to the playo who had died, or if he knew that ii charging as he did ho might produci serious injury, and was indifferent o reckless as to whether he would pro duce serious injury or not, then th(
act would bo unlawful.
Football, ho said,, was a rougl game; but he was "unwilling to de cry the manly sports of-this country ÚU of which were no doubt attcndei with more or less danger."
On this direction the jury founc "the prisoner not guilty.
PLAYER FOUND GUILTY
A verdict of "Guilty" was veturnei by the jury in a case tried in lS9o The facts were that the prisbner, wh< was charged with manslaughter, ha' jumped with his knees up against an other player's back and threw hil" violently forward against tho knee of the goalkeeper, with tho rcsul that he was seriously'injured intel nally and died' a few days later.
Again in this case tho judge stale that the rules of the game wore in material, and it did not matte whether tho prisoner broke tho rule or not. Football, heysaid, was a lav ful gamo, and. persons .who played
must be careful tb/restrain then selves KO as not to do bodily hann t any other person. The jury four the -man ? guilty, apparently in tl belief that ho had gone beyond'tl
reasonable limits of the game and I had acted maliciously.
j The same judge, when tho subject
of boxing was being considered, ex ' pressed thc opinion that there was nothing unlawful in sparring, except in cases where tho fight continued
until tho combatants were so weak that a dangerous fall was likely to
FATAL BOXING BOUTS
Tho "Police Journal" expresses the opinion that except in such circum- stances it is, .generally speaking, true 'o say that where death is caused by un injury received during a boxing match it does not amount to manslaughter.
Twice in thc last 12 years in Vic- toria there have. been, cases of deaths following a boxing bout, but neither was followed by a manslaughter charge. -
Bert M'Carthy, at one time feather- weight champion of Australia, died in 1931, following his collapse in the 18th round of a contest with Alby Roberts, an aborigine. . It was M'Carthy. who fought Dencio Cab anela (better known as Dencio) in tho 1921 contest in which the Fili- pino boxer collapsed.
Both men died of cerebral hemorr- hage, Dencio a few hours after thc fight, and M'Carthy a couple of days
PROBLEM FOR CONSTABLE
But on tho question of cricket, the problem which the unhappy constable in the mythical village green case must solve is practically on all fours .with the decision which umpires would have to make if the Board of Control's suggested rule to overcome the "body-line" controversy were adopted.
They must decide whether the bowler deliberately intends to hurt br intimidate the batsman, but tho law goes a step further, and holds that the bowler is liable if he does not caro whether he hurts tile batsman or not.
THE ATTACK. MADE BY LARWOOD, England'« Tc« fast bowler, on Australian crowds nnd batsmen, makes theso picture« interesting. They show (from the left)-Woodfull holding his heart niter having been »truck by Larwood in tho third Test in Adelaide; Oldfield falling after having been hit on the (head by tho fast bowler during tho .ante match; a cartuon hy Alex Gurney which was reproduced in "Tho Ncw&" last November; and Larwood in