Col­li­sion was ‘ ter­ri­fy­ing’, in­quest hears

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - KATE MCKENNA

FRAN­CIS Molo knocked James Ack­er­man to the ground with a shoul­der charge be­fore knee­ing him, pick­ing him up by the col­lar and giv­ing him a shove, an in­quest has heard.

Ack­er­man’s fam­ily switched off his life sup­port two days af­ter he suf­fered in­juries from the tackle by the then Norths Devils player dur­ing an In­trust Su­per Cup match in June 2015. An in­quest yes­ter­day heard from Ack­er­man’s Sun­shine Coast Fal­cons team­mate, Ryan Hansen, who de­scribed the sound of the on­field col­li­sion as “ter­ri­fy­ing”.

He told the in­quest Molo’s arm was tucked into his hip and he had “turned a lit­tle bit side on” as he hit the for­ward.

As the fa­ther- of- two lay in­jured on the ground, Hansen said he saw Molo knee him, pick him up by the col­lar and give him a “lit­tle shove”. But Molo’s bar­ris­ter Peter Lane ques­tioned Hansen as to why he had not in­cluded those de­tails in his state­ment to the in­quest.

An­other team­mate de­scribed see­ing an at­tempt by Molo to shoul­der charge Ack­er­man ( right) ear­lier that match.

“( The tackle) wasn’t com­pleted and play was continued and there was no penalty,” he said. “I dis­tinctly re­mem­ber go­ing to the ref­eree – as I was the cap­tain at the time – and ask­ing why there wasn’t a penalty for that.”

Mem­bers of Ack­er­man’s fam­ily left the Coro­ner’s Court while footage of the match was played. Molo, who last week signed with the Townsville Black­hawks, was hit with a nine- match sus­pen­sion af­ter the Queens­land Rugby League ju­di­ciary found him guilty of a “grade five” shoul­der charge.

The in­quest con­tin­ues.

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