Irish international has distanced himself from his involvement with Monster Rugby After the cases against him and four other players were referred to a French criminal court after allegations of rape of a young woman.
In a statement, Monster confirmed that center Chris Farrell will not be involved with the team during the French legal proceedings.
Mr Farrell, 29, is not accused of rape but faces a charge of “not stopping a crime”.
The Bordeaux Court of Appeal confirmed today that three former Grenoble rugby club players accused of rape in Mérignac in 2017 have been referred to the Gironde court, several French media reported.
The three are Ireland’s Dennis Coulson (28), New Zealander Rory Grace (32) and France’s Loic James (27). Mr. Coulson has played professional rugby for three French teams and Connacht during his career. Recently, he was playing in the rugby club in Ireland.
The same court also reportedly confirmed that there was “sufficient evidence” to refer other former Grenoble players to the Assize Court for “failure 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 be taking time away from the team.
“Monster Rugby and Chris Farrell have agreed that, with immediate effect, he will retract his involvement with Monster during legal proceedings in France, in relation to his alleged involvement as a witness to an alleged crime in 2017,.”
“As this is an active legal issue before the French courts, we have no further comment,” the statement said.
The Assize Court hears serious criminal cases.
All five can still appeal the decision to another court of appeal known as the Court of Cassation, which deals with the interpretation of the law rather than the facts of the case.
French media reported that the players denied the complainant’s accusations and insisted that any contact with her was consensual.
The case concerns an alleged incident that occurred in March 2017 when several Grenoble players, who were coming from their top 14 lost against Union Bordeaux Bigles, decided to continue the evening in a city bar.
There, they allegedly met a 21-year-old student, who was taken back to their hotel.
Le Dauphiné Libéré reported that the investigating judge in charge of the case had issued a ruling in June 2019 to bring charges before the Assize Court against Mr. Colson, Mr. James and Mr. Grace. But the three men appealed this ruling.
Coulson’s lawyer said in 2019 that the complainant’s accusations were not sufficient to take the case to the Assize Court as they contradicted witness testimony.
Mr Jammes’ lawyer also said that year that there was much skepticism regarding the issue of agreeing to a trial.
Le Dauphiné Libéré said Mr Farrell and Mr Hayes were subsequently investigated by a designated investigative judge last year for allegedly “failing to stop a crime”.