By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A Berwick juniors coach has dealt a second legal blow against a basketball organisation in what he says is a fight to clear his name.
Josh Henshaw, who coaches Outlander Outlaws junior teams, was awarded an injunction to lift an 18-month suspension imposed by Basketball Victoria’s tribunal for alleged misconduct.
Basketball Victoria was further ordered to pay for Mr Henshaw’s legal costs in a ruling at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 8 February.
Magistrate Mary-Anne MacCallum found it was reasonably arguable that the tribunal ban was “significantly disproportionate”.
“Until the court has the opportunity to hear all of the evidence, the ban should be entirely lifted.”
She also ruled against Basketball Victoria for its hearings officer denying Mr Henshaw’s requests for an adjournment due to a bereaved witness being unavailable.
The tribunal’s refusal to grant Mr Henshaw an appeal hearing was arguably oppressive, she found.
“I am satisfied that the plaintiff has a prima facie case against the defendant.”
Mr Henshaw has served six months of his now-lifted suspension – which banned him from coaching and attending basketball stadia.
He told Star News he was relieved he could again watch his children play basketball, drive them to their games and support the Outlaws at matches.
“It’s been a stress on my wife and family,” he said.
“The sole purpose was to protect my reputation, my children’s reputation, my business involvement in the sport and any other future opportunities I can potentially progress.
“If I have an intention to coach or be part of the sport, I can’t have aggressive charges on my resume that shouldn’t be there.”
Mr Henshaw said he wanted an apology to him and his family for the “inappropriate treatment”, adding that the Dandenong Basketball Association had denied his wife a coaching position during the saga.
He said the question of damages was still open.
“It depends on what the lawyers find is appropriate to resolve the matter.”
The decision follows Ms MacCallum recently granting an intervention order against Dandenong Basketball Association referees adviser Allan Manhire for harassing Mr Henshaw.
The order sparked an internal review by the DBA into its policies, procedures and training of staff.
Mr Manhire had lodged the complaint that led to Mr Henshaw’s tribunal ban.
It rose from a verbal altercation with Mr Henshaw after a juniors game at Dandenong basketball stadium on 15 July.
Mr Henshaw stated he had taken issue with him being filmed by Mr Manhire during the game.
In Mr Henshaw’s absence, the tribunal found Mr Henshaw guilty of bringing basketball into disrepute, threatening Mr Manhire, a gross breach of code, and offensive language.
Ms MacCallum ordered Mr Henshaw and Basketball Victoria to mediation by 9 April.
When asked for a comment, Basketball Victoria however issued a statement indicating it was prepared to fight the matter in court.
“The preliminary hearing and the substantive matter will come back before courts in May and accordingly it is inappropriate for Basketball Victoria to comment at this time.”