WA Police 'taking an interest' in Andrew Gaff's jaw-breaking punch on Andrew Brayshaw
WA POLICE Commissioner Chris Dawson has confirmed they will be making an “assessment” of the punch thrown by West Coast’s Andrew Gaff which broke the jaw of Fremantle rival Andrew Brayshaw, and encouraged the “parties concerned” to contact them.
The WA football world was sent into furore yesterday afternoon, after Gaff’s hit on Brayshaw sent the young Docker to hospital, and the rest of the AFL into apoplexy.
High profile criminal barrister Tom Percy, a long-time Dockers fan, posted on social media that criminal charges might flow from the derby dust-up.
Today, Commissioner Dawson said that occurrence was very rare – but they were taking an interest, as they did with “other matters of public interest”.
“No one likes to see hits like that in competitive sport,” Mr Dawson said.
“It is rare for Police to lay criminal charges as a result of an incident in a professional competitive sporting event.
“Physical contact on the footy field is expected. The central issue here is what should be governed by the sporting code and what falls within the criminal realm.”
The commissioner pointed out that the AFL had its own processes in the form of tribunal deliberations and club sanctions that ordinarily govern professional sport.
“We will make an assessment on this incident as we would with other matters of public interest, and we would encourage any parties directly connected and concerned with this matter to contact WA Police Force.”
Mr Percy, via his Facebook page, said Gaff “doesn't deserve to play AFL again. Ever.”
“A prima facie case for a police investigation. I've had people go to jail for less," he said.
"It was indefensible, breathtaking in its cowardice," Percy said.
"The sort of thing that stops families letting their young kids play footy.
"I'm sure the police will have a look at it.
Other legal opinion this morning said that police could initiate an investigation on their own – but would ultimately need the co-operation of a complainant to have any chance of a successful prosecution.
The club said today Brayshaw had surgery overnight to repair his broken jaw and three displaced lower teeth, which have been put back into place and splinted.
Club medical staff advised that the surgery went well and Brayshaw is now recovering at home with his parents. He cannot eat solid food for four weeks and will not play again this season.