Alicubi º Aliqua Tempore
The voice of the IRS
- Gordon Eddie
with a humorous and informative article on how to run a court on
- Roy Davies with a tongue-in-cheek, only
slightly historical look at the history of rugby.
- "Tales from the locker room" is a
contribution of dubious humour from our resident jokester, Ian
The following article appeared in the first issue of The Harlot, the
voice of the IRS, which is mailed to all members.
We're sure you will find it both informative and entertaining.....
Justice on a Rugby Tour
by His Honour JudGE...(Gordon Eddy)
Perhaps it is because the game of Rugby Union Football is
governed by Laws and not Rules, that it has become a tradition, when
rugby clubs go on a tour, to institute a "Tour Court" to deal
with any transgressions that may be committed by members of the tour
party. It has been implied by some that these touring tribunals are
"kangaroo courts", providing little opportunity for the
accused to be found anything but guilty. Although I must agree that
there may be some Tour Courts that may operate in accordance with the
Queen of Hearts' admonition to pass sentence first and to try second, I
believe that a Tour Court can operate with the same level of fairness as
is usually found in a referee on the field of play.
As a person who has had the honour of being named "Your
Honour" on many tours, I would like to offer a brief guide to tour
jurisprudence, hoping that it may be of assistance to others who may be
called by their peers to pass judgement upon them during a rugby tour.
Selection of a Tour Judge
In making the choice of a tour judge, one should seek a person
who is both honest and understanding. If such a person does not appear
to be present on the tour roster, a second choice might be a person who
is devious and distainful, for it is a well known adage that justice
must be seen to be done, as well as actually being done. Therefore, the
appearance of fairness may be more important than actually being fair,
especially when you are pressed for time as you often are on a rugby
Early in the proceedings of the Tour Court, it is essential that
those responsible for the tour have charges laid against them. This
gives notice to all present that no one is above Tour Law. Therefore, it
is essential that the Tour Manager be among the first charged. This
should not be difficult, as he has so much to do he is bound to screw up
something. Also, in attempting to defend himself he will likely
implicate others such as the Tour Captain, Tour Treasurer, etc., which
will in turn lead to additional charges. It is also wise for the Tour
Judge to charge himself early in the tour. Once again, this will create
a false sense of fairness which can be used to great advantage in later
sessions of the court.
Selection of a Jury
Emphasizing the need to appear fair that I stressed in the
selection of a Tour Judge, it is useful to have the whole tour party act
as the jury in all cases. This excludes, of course, the accused in any
particular case. This will appear fair in that all members should, at
one time during the tour, find themselves being charged with some
offense. (What could be fairer than to have every member on tour make at
least one court appearance?) Although it would seem that the possibility
of everyone facing a charge at sometime during the tour might lead to a
conspiracy of leniency, this will not prove to be the case. On the
contrary, there will develop within the tour party an attitude of
getting even, or getting ahead, that will lead to the correct guilty
verdict in almost all cases. These attitudes should be fostered as they
will lead members of the tour to more readily lay charges against each
Recording of Charges
All members of the tour party should be made aware of the maxim
that, "The walls have ears!" This should not be seen as a
warning against misbehaviour, but as an admonition to all to watch and
to listen for offences worthy of reporting.
The Tour Judge should always make himself available to receive
allegations about the misbehaviour of members of the tour party. This
means that the Tour Judge must associate with all members, even though
this might require that he join them for a second round of beers or a
late dram of Scotch. It is on these late occasions that tongues are most
loose and misbehaviours most rampant, and being the Tour Judge, it is
not likely that he will have to pay for these additional libations. This
can also lead to charges of bribery against the members offering the
drinks, with the Tour Judge maintaining that he was only accepting to
All allegations should be taken seriously. Even if they appear to be of
little substance at the moment, they can be stored and built upon as the
tour progresses. This is particularly important to remember when you are
getting toward the end of the tour and a member has eluded the efforts
of his peers to find him at fault. In such cases, a collection of
seemingly innocuous actions can be knitted together to form a charge
that will wear well in court.
The Tour Judge should also let it be known that anonymous notes may be
used to make him aware of transgressions that may occur at times and
places when he was not present. It is also of benefit if those laying
allegations are able to produce concrete evidence that can be produced
at the Tour Court in support of a particular charge. This is
particularly effective if the accused is denying the charge and is
gaining some misguided sympathy from the jury.
It is also helpful to cultivate a "snitch" on the tour who
will observe and report on situations that occur outside the purview of
the Tour Judge. This is especially important if the tour party is large
and members are travelling in separate groups, for many transgressions
occur during periods of travel.
Defense of a Charge
It is, of course, only fair that a tour member accused of an act
of misbehaviour be given an opportunity to offer a defense, as these are
often entertaining fabrications that help the court to maintain a
lighthearted atmosphere that is useful when the verdict of guilty is
voiced by the jury. Defenses can also be useful in that they entrap
others who were involved but not seen, or they may lead to the laying of
additional charges such as contempt of court.
There will be occasions when the accused may seek the assistance of a
defense council. Although it is difficult to deny what appears to be a
legitimate request, it has been my experience that to allow such council
often prolongs the proceedings and annoys those wishing to be out and
about to tour, especially the Tour Judge. It is best to table the
defense to a particularly notable charge and the matter can be put over
to such a time as the court can fairly deal with it. My own suggestion
would be five minutes before the flight home.
As is appropriate in this age of equality, many tour parties are
made up of not only players and
, but also of wives and significant others. Obviously no one who is a
member of the tour party should be left out of the Tour Court, however
the presence of the distaff side of the tour may cause the Tour Judge to
temperate what charges may be layed as some of the lonely males on tour
may not be so lonely when they return home. However, what may seem to be
a disadvantage as far as tour justice is concerned may turn to an
advantage on two counts. First, it will not be long on the tour before
the natural forces connected with the game of rugby will cause some
friction, even between man and wife.This will lead to some outstanding
charges being laid and some heartfelt evidence being heard. In addition,
the need by some tour members to keep certain actions from appearing on
the docket of the Tour Court will provide opportunities for the Tour
Judge to accept bribes and to retain some jurisdiction over the group
long after the tour is over.
Of course, the real purpose of a Tour Court is to provide a
humourous opportunity for the members of the tour to join together on a
fairly regular basis to laugh with one another, at each other, and at
themselves, and hopefully provide another set of good tour memories.
However, there is a caution below as to how many of these memories can
Although I have stated that the Tour Judge could retain some
jurisdiction over the tour party after the tour has ended, such action
would be contrary to the Golden Rule of any rugby tour. That being,
"What happens on tour stays on tour." Therefore, I will end my
dissertation on Justice on a Rugby Tour by assuring all who have ever
toured with me that I have very seldom broken that Golden Rule, and to
remind those contemplating tours, that as a true member of the IRS, I have
a gavel and will travel.
* Alakadoo n. sometime players who, because of
multiple injuries, body part transplant, senility, wealth, or a
combination of the above, travel on rugby tours but don't play.
These and other
features combine to make the Harlot a good read.
Current copies are mailed to all members of the IRS.