Former AFL star Wayne Carey has engaged lawyers to investigate the possibility of launching a disability discrimination claim against Crown Casino, after he was asked to leave the Perth premises last week.
Carey was escorted out of Crown Burswood after a bag of white powder fell out of his pocket and onto a gaming table.
The 51-year-old maintains the bag did not contain any illegal substances, but instead an anti-inflammatory named Aleve, which he is to take during dinner as a pain-killer due to ongoing soreness from a shoulder injury.
The North Melbourne great has said he attempted to give the bag to security, who declined to take it from him, before he was escorted from the casino.
WA Police were not contacted by casino staff at the time, but have since launched an investigation of their own.
Carey has since engaged the services of Josh Bornstein of Maurice Blackburn lawyers to investigate the possibility of a discrimination action against Crown.
Bornstein said they were looking at whether or not casino staff had taken Carey's long-term pain from the shoulder injury into account before ejecting him.
“We are considering whether Crown Casino unlawfully discriminated against Mr Carey by excluding him from its premises as a result of a pre-existing disability,” he said.
A statement from the firm said casino staff made an 'incorrect assumption' that the white powder was an illicit substance, and said Carey had been left 'distressed' by the resulting media attention.
“Wayne Carey has retained leading workplace lawyer Josh Bornstein from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers to investigate a possible disability discrimination claim against Perth’s Crown Casino after the AFL great was required to leave Crown’s premises last Thursday night,” the firm's statement read.
“Mr Carey was ejected after Casino authorities saw a bag containing a white substance and despite Mr Carey’s denial made an incorrect assumption that the bag contained an illegal drug.
“Mr Carey is prescribed anti-inflammatories and pain-killing medicine to help manage the significant pain caused by debilitating football injuries – including a shoulder that needs replacing and a neck injury that requires three discs to be replaced.
“Mr Carey is distressed that the casino actions have led to media attention leaving the public to also wrongly assume the bag contained an illegal drug. He has also indicated that he would welcome a police investigation.”
Wayne Carey banned from Crown Casinos after 'white powder' incident
Carey has been issued with a 'withdrawal of license' notice, preventing him from entering any Crown properties in WA or elsewhere in Australia, meaning he will be unable to attend events such as the AFL's Brownlow Medal night, held at Crown in Melbourne.
The ban will remain in place for two years, while Carey has also stood himself down from his duties as a commentator for Channel 7, while he has also been stood down at Triple M.
Admitting the incident was a 'bad look', Carey insisted he had done nothing wrong.
“It was not an illegal substance. It was offered to security. Security didn’t take it,” Carey said.
“They just said it’s not a great look. I understood that, and we left without incident.”
While the WA Police have launched an investigation Commissioner Col Blanch admitted earlier this week that it would be 'difficult' to determine if the substance was illegal since it was not confisated by Crown.
“We’ll make an assessment from [the CCTV] but, obviously, we’re on the back foot from the beginning because we didn’t have the initial complaint at the time it occurred, which would have been my preference,” he told Perth radio station 6PR.
“I can’t speak directly to the decisions made at the time that occurred, but if there was any suspicion by any person that there were drugs possessed or drugs obtained or was in the possession of authorities down at Crown, I would have expected a phone call to police to manage that matter.
“We can still speak to witnesses, we can collect CCTV footage, we can perhaps interview Wayne Carey himself if the investigation leads in that direction.
“But again ... it will be very difficult without the substance itself to prove whether it was an illicit substance or otherwise.”
Via a spokesperson, Crown maintained casino staff had 'acted in accordance with our standard procedures' and said they would cooperate fully with WA Police, including handing over any necessary CCTV footage.
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