I think my esteemed colleague of the front row union and I are in violent agreement with each other on this incident: that things just don't stack up.
However, I don't know exactly how the citing process works, for all I know the referee may well have said something to the citing commissioner, in which case the citing would still have occurred, but having read the full transcript where Ferris states in his testimony that "It was the Irish Team manager who made the complaint to the Citing Commissioner" suggests that it was as a result of said Team Manager that the citing commissioner looked at the incident. If this was the sole reason, then I restate: that the Irish Team Manager should be brought to book, especially given some of the other things that went on during the game. He should have told Ferris to "move on" and kept his mouth shut rather than coming across as a bad loser!
Additionally, having read the transcript again I am not sure that Mr Mallinder's assertion that Hartley "plays exemplary within the rules" stacks up giving the video evidence of the Saints vs Ulster game last year:
All in all a poor decision that undermines the citing process and a poor day for rugby in general.