Yachting: Aussie key witness in cheating hearings

By Paul Lewis

Oracle Team USA. Photo / Oracle
Oracle Team USA. Photo / Oracle

Many judicial inquiries are sparked by a whistle-blower. Australian Bryce Ruthenberg was not quite that - he didn't spark the America's Cup international jury inquiry into Oracle Team USA cheating. But he clearly played a key role in leading the jury to their conclusions.

The following are some of the jury notes concerning him:

•"Bryce Ruthenberg ... stated that he placed lead in a Kevlar bag that was put in the forward king post of OTUSA Boat 4 [Spithill's boat].

•"Since the lead ... was never found, it must have been either removed by a person or persons unknown or it possibly fell out."

•"Having regard to the way the team worked and lived together, it is inconceivable that an action as significant as putting lead shot in king posts would not be known by a number of team members."

•"OTUSA could have dealt with the modifications by referring the need for them to the measurement committee.

However, committee chairman Nick Nicholson said they would have 'laughed them out of the room'."

•"The jury is satisfied [Bryce] was carrying out instructions from a member of the sailing team ... Bryce could have refused ... but felt under pressure to do the job."

•"Partly because of Bryce's respect for the sailing team, he did not question the instruction or direction he received to add weight to the king post. The jury accepts Bryce's evidence he did not act alone".

•"The jury found Bryce to be an honest and credible witness ... not driven by reasons of self-benefit."

Ruthenberg's conduct was found to have constituted a gross breach of a rule and of good sportsmanship. He was excluded from the America's Cup but the jury decided to recommend that no further action be taken against him.

- NZ Herald

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