Robin Gomez was acquitted of assault causing bodily harm in an incident which arose from a punch thrown during a semi-professional hockey game in 2008. Hubbard J ruled that players impliedly consent to this type of misconduct and that retaliatory hits are part of the game.
In several past hockey assault cases, defendant players have successfully pleaded that they were either provoked or acted in self-defence. These acts of provocation included being struck in the head by an opponent’s stick or cross-checked from behind.
What is particularly interesting in this case is that Hubbard J appears to regard taunting and trash talking as sufficient cause to incite or provoke an assault condoned by the courts.
Hockey cases such as these are further complicated in proving the necessary mens rea insofar as Gomez’s role in the game is to intimidate and fight but not necessarily to injure.
Chris Ferraro’s civil suit is still pending.