Blackjack Gary Lawson appeals against 26-week ban for threatening behavior

Gary Lawson has launched an appeal against his 26-week suspension that came on the back of a 16-week ban.

John Kirk-Anderson / Stuff

Gary Lawson has launched an appeal against his 26-week suspension that came on the back of a 16-week ban.

Champion bowler Gary Lawson remains sidelined but is appealing the length of his 26-week suspension for threatening behavior.

Lawson, a multiple national champion, has served his original 16-week ban – that cost him a spot at this year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games – but is unable to return to the greens due to a second 26-week suspension.

However, the former world champion is appealing the length of the half-year ban, Stuff understands.

Back in June, Lawson was handed down a 16-week ban for an incident of homophobic abuse that occurred at a competition in Christchurch in May 2021.

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Lawson’s subsequent appeal to the Bowls NZ judicial committee was unsuccessful.

However, after that suspension was made public, Lawson threatened two people via text messages, a Canterbury Bowls judicial panel found.

Stuff understands threats were sent to the person whose complaint about homophobic abuse led to Lawson’s initial suspension, and to Stuff senior sports journalist Zoë George whose July 2021 investigation uncovered allegations of homophobia, sexism, threatening behavior and abusive language by Lawson spanning more than 25 years.

If Lawson’s appeal to the Bowls NZ judicial committee against the 26-week ban is unsuccessful, he will be unable to participate in the sport until March 2023, making him ineligible for the Nationals in January 2023.

Stuff understands the appeal will likely be heard next month.

Bowls NZ refused to comment because the matter is going through a judicial process.

Lawson has been approached for comment.

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