Friday, 5 September 2008

'Justice stranded on the Beach'

- Think twice when you "reopen" a hearing -
by Adriaan Pels

This time we were on Barbados. The event was a world championship Mistral. The jury was busy with the last day hearings. As usual only a few protests, but protests which could influence the total score and the places on the podium.

Only one party came to the hearing

In one hearing the protestee did not show up. The chairman postponed the hearing and scheduled it at the bottom of the list and asked the protestor to do everything that he could to bring the other party to the jury room. But no success. At last the jury decided the protest after only hearing the protestor and decided to disqualify the protestee.

Later that day, during the dinner and prize giving party on the beach, with a lot of rum and coca cola and steel band music, the protestee accosted the jury chairman and told him why he was not present at the hearing. The chairman, always ready to help the sailors, decided he was unavoidably absent and sitting in the sand with one other jury member he ‘reopened’ the hearing. Or whatever you call it. Anyhow, the duo listened to the story of the protestee and decided now that he was in the right, no doubt. He should not be disqualified.

Score change

What to do in this situation? Call all jury members? Find the protestor? Look for a jury room? Too complicated and at the end the chairman, sure about what happened on the water and wanting to do justice, informed the result Johnny’s and the score was changed.

Next day, after breakfast, while he was waiting for transport to the airport, the eyes half open because of little sleep and much rum, the jury chairman was almost attacked by the protestor. After the man had seen the changed scoring list (he was not informed) and was told by somebody what happened, he was furious. "What you did is not allowed, I had the right to be present" ,and so on he said, not very friendly. Poor chairman, despite his good intentions, he made a big mistake by not to following the correct procedure.

Decision: back to the original score. But where were the result boys? Not there anymore, the event was over, flags down, offices closed. “I’ll write a letter”, were his last words, before he hit the taxi.....

Adriaan Pels.


This is the second guest post by Adriaan. His first one you can find here:
Leg counting or How many beats did you sail?

If you have a story you think is of interest and would like to share, please mail me and send it in.

1 comment:

  1. In my opinon the rhum had a big part in this story. Anyway if the rules allow to have a hearing with only one of the party, none of rules allow the chairman (or any other) to re-open a hearing in a so informal way, on the beach, and after/during drinking alchool, expecially if the protestor was not informed and was not there.
    It's the same even if the first decision of the jury was wrong.


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