A Croatian footballer has been accused of assaulting a woman on a flight as his team jetted into Australia for an Asian Champions League match.
Marko Simic, a striker for Indonesian champions Persija Jakarta, faced Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday accused of common assault and an act of indecency on board Sunday’s international flight from Bali to Sydney.
A-League team Newcastle Jets host Persija in a knockout tie of the premier Asian club competition on Tuesday night.
Court documents state Simic, 31, was arrested on Sunday morning after the six-hour flight from Denpasar landed at Sydney’s international airport.
He was later charged with the two NSW offences and granted conditional bail.
A representative from the Indonesian embassy was present in court on Tuesday.
Simic, wearing a Persija team tracksuit, said “Hello, your honour” as his lawyer asked for the matter to be resolved quickly and stressed his client’s “difficult position”.
“He finds himself in an unenviable position, to say the least,” the lawyer said.
“He’s here with the team … he’s simply lost.”
Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson said the case needed to be treated like any other matter with procedural fairness for all parties.
The case could be bumped up to a higher court if one charge is treated as an indictable offence.
“The bottom line is he has been charged, it’s got to be resolved,” Ms Atkinson said.
“The commonwealth with work with you on (the visa issues). But it has to be done properly.”
The magistrate questioned whether police needed eight weeks to prepare the brief of evidence before stating: “I guess you’ve got overseas cabin crew and things like that.”
The matter was adjourned to April 9.