NRL player Taylan May will face a Magistrate in October after being charged with assault following an incident during the Penrith Panthers premiership celebrations.
The hearing co-indices with the start of the Rugby League World Cup and may require many of his Panthers teammates, including Nathan Cleary, to return to Australia to give evidence.
There is CCTV of the incident and the NRL Integrity Unit have not suspended May.
Charged with Assault
The incident that led to the assault charges occurred during Penrith’s premiership celebrations at the Duporth Tavern.
May told media after the incident that he had “stuck up for
[Nathan] Cleary “after he was being harassed by a patron.
“Anyone in my position, if they’re a good friend, they would have done what I did. I stuck up for Cleary. I don’t think I was in the wrong.”
“I didn’t want to escalate the situation. [My
teammates] are big names, I’m a nobody. the security were on my side. The situation for me, it doesn’t really faze me. I’ve put it behind me and just focused on the game. “
Nathan Cleary commented in April, saying, “He’ll always put others above himself. Growing up, it’s probably got him into a bit of trouble, but that’s why we love him, he’s constantly putting the team first and putting his brothers ahead of him. He’s definitely not a selfish guy. “
Mr May was charged in March with assault occasioning bodily harm. He entered a plea of not guilty and the matter has been set for hearing later this year on 19 October.
Four other NRL players are police witnesses and are expected to be in the United Kingdom for the start of the World Cup, which begins on 15 October.
NRL Integrity Unit Takes No Action
Both Penrith officials and the NRL integrity unit have viewed CCTV footage of the incident. Unlike numerous other players who have been standing down until their cases are finalized, Mr May has been allowed to continue playing.
Commenting on that decision, coach Ivan Cleary said, “The fact the NRL hasn’t taken any action tells a fair story.”
Taylan May is expected to make his debut for Samoa in next weekend’s international against the Cook Islands.
If the winger is picked in the Samoan World Cup squad, an application can be made for him to give evidence via audiovisual link. However, if this application is refused, then he will be forced to return to Australia and attend the hearing in person.
This also applies to the other NRL players who are witnesses in the case.
Samoa and Australia play their first Cup games on October 15 against England and Fiji respectively. This would mean that they would have four days to return for the hearing.
Many Penrith Panthers’ players are likely to be at the World Cup in England, representing Australia, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand or Fiji.
May is regarded as a rookie of the year contender this season after playing just one game last year.
Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm
Section 59 of the Crimes Act1900 (NSW) defines Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (AOABH) as intentionally or recklessly causing another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence and Actual Bodily Harm results.
You can beat an Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charge in two ways. Firstly, Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
1. You assaulted the victim
2. That assault caused the victim to suffer ‘actual bodily harm.
Secondly, there are defenses that can be used to have you found ‘not guilty’.
Actual bodily harm is defined as an injury which was not merely transient. This may include bruising and cuts. It would not extend to a person feeling fear or panic. However, a severe psychological injury may amount to actual bodily harm.
Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm is a more serious charge than common assault. As such, it is possible to have an Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm charge downgraded to common assault. This will involve your assault lawyer sending Police ‘representations’.
Many people who are found guilty of these offenses will receive criminal convictions which can affect a person’s career and ability to travel overseas. That is why it is important to obtain advice from a leading criminal lawyer who has successfully defended hundreds of these charges. You can read about some recent cases by clicking here. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email email@example.com.
The following defenses to assault apply:
1. Self-defense: You were defending yourself or another person
2. Accident: You did not intend to commit any assault. You also did not know that an injury could result from your actions.
3. Causation: The prosecution cannot prove you caused actual bodily harm.
4. Identification: The prosecution cannot prove that you committed the offense.
5. Consent: The alleged victim consented to your actions.
6. Duress: You were forced to commit the assault.
7. Necessity: Your actions were necessary in the circumstances
Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm is a type of assault charge which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years jail if your case is heard in the District Court.
If you are in company with another person when you commit the offense, the maximum penalty becomes 7 years imprisonment.
In the Local Court, the maximum sentence for a single offense is 2 years imprisonment.
Looking at 2,187 cases in the Local Court over the last 5 years, that statistics show how difficult it is to avoid a conviction. Less than 10% of sentences resulted in no conviction for Assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The remaining offenders all received convictions and almost 40% of offenders were sentenced to some form of imprisonment. Almost 20% of offenders were sentenced to full-time imprisonment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.