essure: Todd Greenberg (right) is in the spotlight. Photo: Wolter PeetersBen Barba’s partner Ainslie Currie has not yet been contacted by the leading barrister heading up the inquiry into Canterbury’s handling of domestic assault allegations against the star fullback, in an indication the investigation’s main focus is the game’s integrity rather than the incident itself.
With former Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg now employed as one of the NRL’s leading officials, Tony Bannon, SC, has been engaged at a cost of about $8000 a day to investigate whether the allegations were covered up at the time he was in charge of the Bulldogs.
By appointing Bannon, the NRL has shown how seriously it is treating the matter, which is widely considered to be the biggest test of the game’s integrity since the formation of the ARL Commission 18 months ago.
Greenberg, Canterbury chairman Ray Dib and coach Des Hasler are expected to be interviewed, possibly on Wednesday, with Fairfax Media told the investigation will take days rather than weeks.
Currie’s lawyer Campbell MacCallum said his client, who has maintained she has never been the victim of domestic abuse, had not been contacted for an interview. ”No approach has been made to myself from Tony Bannon about Ms Currie speaking to the investigation committee,” MacCallum said.
Greenberg is continuing in his role with the NRL while the inquiry takes place and he is due to front a press conference on Wednesday to announce details of the pre-season Nines tournament in Auckland in February.
”Until the matter is resolved I will not be making any comment,” Greenberg said on Tuesday.
Greenberg is understood to be confident he and the Bulldogs will be cleared of wrongdoing as they urged Currie to go to the police if she had been assaulted, but her concern was for Barba.
However, his new role has placed the NRL under enormous pressure to ensure the integrity of the game is protected.
”If they are serious about protecting the integrity of the game then no one is above reproach,” one official said.
While some at the Bulldogs have privately questioned why the club is in the spotlight, the overwhelming view in the game is Greenberg’s standing as one of the NRL’s top three officials has been compromised if the allegations are proven.
”How can he impose fines and sanctions on clubs if he has been involved in covering this up?” one club boss said. Fairfax Media was�0�2told Greenberg will have a case to answer if he was aware, or should have been aware, of a possible incident of domestic violence and did not report it to the police or NRL.
Greenberg and Dib met NRL chief executive Dave Smith the day after Currie approached the club on February 24 to advise him Barba was being stood down for personal issues, but they did not mention any allegations of domestic abuse.
NRL officials said they became aware of the allegations only after the publication of a photo last Sunday showing Currie with a bloodied lip.
However, the existence of the photo has been rumoured for some time and Greenberg is believed to have been told about it but had not seen it.
It has been suggested Greenberg could have informed Smith about the allegations when he accepted the job with the NRL in June but Fairfax Media was told the club felt he had handled the situation appropriately.
With Currie denying she had been assaulted, it is understood Greenberg felt that was the end of the matter. Fairfax Media was also told there were concerns within the Bulldogs that if they had advised the NRL of any concerns the allegations would have leaked out and found their way into the media.
The club was also worried about Barba’s welfare. Barba was booked into a north shore clinic for 17 days before being released after doctors advised that spending any longer there would not help him. However, Fairfax Media was told that if the club was worried about Barba’s mental state and held any suspicion that Currie had been assaulted, they should have also been concerned it could happen again.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.