An Ireland international has retired from Munster Rugby after cases against him and four other players were referred to a French criminal court following allegations that a young woman was raped.
NA statement Munster confirmed center Chris Farrell will not be involved with the team while the French court case is ongoing.
Mr. Farrell, 29, from Fivemiletown, is not charged with rape but faces charges of “failing to stop a crime”.
The Bordeaux Court of Appeal today confirmed that three former Grenoble FC rugby players accused of the rape in Merignac in 2017 have been referred to the Assises Court of Gironde, several French media reported.
The three are Irishman Denis Coulson (28), New Zealander Rory Grice (32) and Frenchman Loick Jammes (27). Mr Coulson has played professional rugby for three French teams and Connacht during his career. More recently he has played club rugby in Ireland.
It was also reported that the same court confirmed “the existence of sufficient evidence” to refer two other former Grenoble players to the Assises Court for the alleged offense of “failing to stop a crime”. They are Mr. Farrell and New Zealander Dylan Hayes (28).
In a statement to Independent.ie, Munster Rugby said Mr Farrell would make time for the team.
“Munster Rugby and Chris Farrell have agreed that he will step down from his involvement with the Munster side with immediate effect pending a court case in France over his alleged involvement as a witness to an alleged crime in 2017.
“As this is an active case before the French courts, we have no further comment,” the statement said.
The Assistant Court deals with serious criminal cases.
All five can still appeal the decision to another court of appeals, known as the Court of Cassation, which deals with the interpretation of laws rather than the facts of a case.
French media reported the players had denied the complainant’s allegations and insisted that any contact with her was consensual.
The case relates to an alleged incident in March 2017 when several Grenoble players, returning from a top 14 game they lost to Union Bordeaux Bègles, decided to continue the evening at a pub in the city.
There they are said to have met a 21-year-old student who was taken back to their hotel.
The newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré reported that in June 2019 a coroner in charge of the case issued a decision bringing charges before the Assizes against Mr Coulson, Mr Jammes and Mr Grice. But this verdict was appealed by the three men.
A lawyer for Mr Coulson said in 2019 that the applicant’s allegations were insufficient to bring the case before the criminal court, as they had been contradicted by witness testimony.
A lawyer for Mr Jammes also said earlier this year that there were too many doubts about the consent issue to pursue a trial.
Le Dauphiné Libéré said Mr Farrell and Mr Hayes were investigated by a coroner-designate last year for allegedly “failing to stop a crime”.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/courts/tyrones-irish-rugby-star-chris-farrell-steps-away-from-munster-after-case-linked-to-alleged-rape-is-referred-to-french-criminal-court-42011529.html Tyrone’s Irish Rugby star Chris Farrell steps away from Munster after case linked to alleged rape is referred to French criminal court