Former NRL star Ben Barba has escaped conviction for assaulting his brother-in-law, but not before a brutal spray from a magistrate.
The 2012 Dally M medallist pleaded guilty in Mackay Magistrates Court on Thursday to assaulting Adrian Currie - brother of partner Ainslie - and breaching his bail conditions.
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Barba punched Mr Currie after his brother-in-law called him a “woman basher” while at a pub in February this year.
Defence lawyer Campbell MacCallum said Barba was “deeply remorseful” for his actions.
“He has taken steps to turn his life around. He has been working full-time and spending a lot of time with his family,” Mr MacCallum told AAP.
“He is determined to kickstart his rugby league career. He is stoked with the result.”
Magistrate James Morton ordered Barba to pay $1500 in fines and $1000 in compensation, but no criminal conviction was recorded.
That decision is a lifeline for the disgraced NRL star who hopes to ink a deal to play rugby league in Spain with the Valencia Huracanes in 2021.
“It will allow him a potential career in Spain playing rugby league,” his lawyer said.
“He has been playing AFL locally, but would love to return to rugby league.”
Ben Barba’s stunning fall from grace
Despite the lifeline, magistrate Morton didn’t miss when addressing Barba’s plight.
“You’ve gone from the penthouse to the sh*thouse in a blink of an eye,” Mr Morton said.
“You had everything given to you and you threw it away.”
Barba has had a troubled playing career after testing positive to cocaine and being suspended by the NRL in 2016.
He was given a chance to return to the NRL with the North Queensland Cowboys in 2019 after stints with French rugby union and the English Super League.
However, Barba was sacked by the Cowboys without playing a game over allegations he was violent towards partner Ainslie Currie in an incident on Australia Day before the start of the season.
Ms Currie did not press charges but the NRL gave the father of four a lifetime ban after viewing CCTV footage of the incident.