Norwegian Finn sailor Peer Moberg was alleged to have been a very naughty boy, allegedly. He was facing a Rule 69 protest by the Jury following allegations by the Canadian Finn sailor Chris Cook who claimed he had been subject to serious abuse and threats from the Norwegian sailor after a mark rounding incident in race 7.
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Peer Moberg (NOR) cools off between races.
Cook protested Moberg under Rule 18.2a, the mark rounding rule. Moberg failed to turn up to the hearing which, according to Jury Chairman David Tillett, did the Norwegian no favours. 'The Jury has to act on the evidence that is given.' Which gave Cook the opportunity to tell it how he saw it.
The conclusion: 'NOR failed to give room as an outside boat and broke RRS 2.' RRS 2 is the Fundamental Rule governing Fair Sailing.
Here's where it gets serious, because although Cook did not protest Moberg under RRS 2, his allegations of abusive language and threats led the Jury to conclude that the Norwegian had been in breach of the Fair Sailing rule, for which the penalty is a DNE, Disqualified Non Excludable.
Now the Jury has decided to take the matter further by protesting Moberg under Rule 69, Allegations of Gross Misconduct. Tillett was why the need to take this matter further. After all, sailors hurl abuse at each other all the time in the heat of the moment, especially in highly pressured situations like the Olympics. 'It depends on the level of seriousness of the abuse, and the seriousness of the threats made,' he said.
As to the point about heat of the moment, Tillett accepted that, but pointed out that Cook had alleged that Moberg had made the abuse and threats not only at the time of the incident at Mark 4, but some minutes later after they crossed the finish line. That was a significant detail for Tillett, and possibly the most difficult for Moberg to answer.
Tillett said the new hearing would be 'De Novo', meaning it will be a fresh hearing from scratch, with none of the evidence presented at the previous protest to hold any weight in the Rule 69 hearing.
Tillett is under no obligation to appoint different members of the Jury to the next hearing, but indicated that he may change 'some or all' of the Jury members, to give Moberg as fair a hearing as possible.
Moberg is in serious hot water. He already got into trouble earlier last week during measurement when, in a fit of rage with the unstickable stickers, he screwed the stickers and measured sail into a ball and threw the bundled mess across the floor. The sail was so damaged that Moberg had to seek permission to measure in a replacement.
Fascinating how differently people respond to the pressures of the Olympic Games.
Norwegian Finn Sailor Peer Moberg has managed to get his DNE non-discardable disqualification reduced to a plain DSQ, after his Rule 69 hearing. Moberg will breathe a big sigh of relief. If the Rule 69 protest by the Jury had gone against him, and it had been proven that he had indeed made the type of abuse and threats that he was alleged to have made, it's possible he could have had his accreditation removed and for him to have been thrown out of the Olympic Village.
As it is, he brought fresh evidence to the hearing (i.e., he turned up this time and presented his case) and managed to put his side of events between him and the Canadian Chris Cook.
It’s been said that the reason Moberg failed to attend the original protest hearing was that he was entertaining a certain Norwegian VIP that evening. A certain King Harald of Norway perhaps?
Even so, when you're competing at an Olympic Games, nothing ranks more importantly than attending a protest hearing.