SAM BURGESS COURT
SAM BURGESS COURT

Burgess ‘confused’ by guilty verdict in AVO battle

Former NRL star Sam Burgess has lodged an appeal after he was found guilty of intimidating his estranged father-in-law.

Moss Vale Local Court Magistrate Robert Babbidge handed down his judgement on Friday morning ordering the ex-Rabbitoh's caption to undertake a two-year community correction order with anger management support.

An apprehended violence order was implemented for two years to protect Mitchell Hooke, the former CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia.

Burgess told reporters outside court: "We're confused by the decision. We've appealed the decision. I won't say anything more, thank you."

Sam Burgess arriving at court this morning with his mother Julie following close behind. Picture: Bianca De Marchi
Sam Burgess arriving at court this morning with his mother Julie following close behind. Picture: Bianca De Marchi

His mother Julie told reporters she was disappointed with the outcome.

Mr Babbidge accepted the giant 6'5, 118kg Burgess "terrified" Mr Hooke.

"(Burgess was a) physically formidable person - far taller, bulkier, fitter and half the age of his father-in-law," he told the court.

"An angered Sam Burgess would indeed be a frightening figure for any Australian…"

Mr Babbidge told Burgess he found him guilty, but he understood he was going through "agony" at the time.

"You were going through a lot of agony. It wasn't easy for you," he said.

'You come to the court as a very high-profile person. You take enormous pride in your career."

Mitch Hooke, Phoebe Hooke and Sam Burgess.
Mitch Hooke, Phoebe Hooke and Sam Burgess.

But, he said people have a right to feel comfortable in our own home.

"This is a terrifying experience for Phoebe Burgess and her dad. I must and will record a conviction," Mr Babbidge told the court.

He accepted Burgess was angered by the visit ending and Ms Burgess' desire to avoid seeing him in person that day.

Burgess hung his head and looked back at his mother Julie Burgess when the verdict was handed down.

His lawyer Bryan Wrench told the court Burgess maintained his innocence.

"He hasn't done this. He has no record of this. He has suffered a significant impact," Mr Wrench told the court.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to one charge of intimidation and a back-up charge of assault stemming from a disagreement at Mr Hooke's Bowral home on October 19, 2019.

It happened during a visit to see his children. The assault charge was later withdrawn.

Mr Babbidge accepted Burgess had told Mr Hooke: "I'm going to get you".

He also accepted Mr Hooke felt "absolute terror" 6'5 Burgess stood over him, pointing and screaming.

The incident began about 4pm when Burgess' two-hour visit had ended.

Originally published as Burgess 'confused' by guilty verdict in AVO battle


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