THE AFL Appeals Board has released its justification for revoking Jack Viney's two-game suspension, saying the Melbourne midfielder should have been given the benefit of the doubt in his rough conduct hearing.
Viney was sent directly to the Tribunal two weeks ago after being cited as part of a collision that broke the jaw of Adelaide forward Tom Lynch.
The Demons appealed his guilty verdict to the Appeals Board and were successful, making Viney just the second player in 15 cases to have a ban overturned.
On Friday the Appeals Board released its reasoning, saying it had been open for the Tribunal to conclude Viney intended to and did bump Lynch, but it was also open to find he was bracing himself rather than bumping.
"In that circumstance there should be a necessary doubt in the Tribunal deciding that issue … (and) in that situation the alleged offender should have the benefit of that doubt," the Appeals Board wrote.
"For that reason alone the Board finds that the ground of appeal has been established."
Viney gave evidence to the Tribunal that he was not trying to bump at any stage and was "purely trying to brace myself for impact".
The Appeals Board said that evidence was not challenged in cross-examination by AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson QC.
The Board, which was made up of chairman Peter O’Callaghan QC, Brian Collis QC and former Richmond ruckman Michael Green, said Viney's evidence "resolved the issue of whether it was a bump or a brace."
"The Board finds that it would be unreasonable for the Tribunal or any other Tribunal to disregard or fail to take into account Viney’s evidence," they said.
Melbourne appealed Viney's original penalty on the grounds that "no Tribunal acting reasonably could have come to that decision having regard to the evidence before it".
The Tribunal that found Viney guilty was made up of Wayne Henwood, Wayne Schimmelbusch and Emmett Dunne.
The Appeals Board said it was important to give reasons for its decision because "the Board upheld the appeal from a conspicuously competent and experienced Tribunal".