Chris Farrell 'stepping back' from Munster due to alleged French rape case connection

The Munster centre is not accused of rape but is facing an accusation by French prosecutors of 'not stopping a crime', French media report.
Chris Farrell 'stepping back' from Munster due to alleged French rape case connection

STEPPING BACK: Munster's Chris Farrell

MUNSTER Rugby has confirmed that international centre Chris Farrell will be "stepping back" from all involvement with the playing squad until legal proceedings in France, concerning his alleged involvement as a witness to an alleged crime in 2017, are concluded.

Farrell (29) is one of five players referred to a French criminal court following allegations a young woman was raped. The Munster player is not accused of rape but is facing an accusation of "not stopping a crime", Independent.ie reports Friday.

The case relates to an alleged incident in March 2017 when several Grenoble players, who were coming from a Top 14 match Bordeaux Bègles, decided to continue the evening in a pub in the city. There, they are alleged to have met a student aged 21, who was brought back to their hotel.

Munster Rugby, in a statement on the matter, says both parties have agreed that Farrell will be "stepping back from his involvement with the Munster squad whilst legal proceedings in France, concerning his alleged involvement as a witness to an alleged crime in 2017, are on-going.

The IRFU also confirmed Farrell will not be considered for Ireland selection while the legal proceedings are ongoing.

“The IRFU supports the agreement between Munster Rugby and Chris Farrell which sees Chris stepping back for a time,” reads the union’s statement. “In line with that agreement, Chris will not be available for Ireland selection during this period.”

French media have confirmed that a Bordeaux Court of Appeal has referred the case of three former Grenoble rugby players accused of rape in Merignac in 2017 to the Assises Court of Gironde.

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 sides and Connacht during his career. More recently he has been playing club rugby in Ireland.

The same court reportedly confirmed the presence of sufficient evidence to refer two other former Grenoble players to the Assises Court for the alleged offence of “not stopping a crime” - namely Mr Farrell and 28-year-old New Zealander Dylan Hayes.

Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper says the magistrate in charge of the case made a ruling in June 2019 bringing charges before the Assises Court against Mr Coulson, Mr Jammes and Mr Grice - a ruling appealed by the three men. A lawyer for Mr Coulson said in 2019 the complainant’s accusations were not sufficient for the case to go before the criminal court as they had been contradicted by witness testimony.

A lawyer for Mr Jammes also said that year that there was too much doubt regarding the issue of consent for there to be a trial.

Le Dauphiné Libéré said Mr Farrell and Mr Hayes were subsequently put under investigation by an examining magistrate last year for allegedly 'not stopping a crime'.

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