QUEENSLAND Reds vice-captain Karmichael Hunt will pay a $2500 fine and have no conviction recorded after pleading guilty to possession cocaine.
He will keep his contract but be suspended for six weeks as well as pay $30,000 to the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and Queensland Rugby Union (QRU).
He will also undergo a drug treatment and rehabilitation program and will be placed on a monitored and targeted drug testing program.
QRU issued a statement this afternoon saying Hunt has accepted these penalties despite being contracted to another code during the time in question.
QRU CEO Jim Carmichael said Hunt would be stood down as the vice-captain of the Reds.
"Major professional sport in Australia also regards the use of illicit substances as a welfare issue in the first instance," he said.
"Karmichael has shown significant contrition and remorse throughout this process and Rugby is now applying the rationale in its Illicit Drugs Policy to ensure Karmichael receives the appropriate education and rehabilitation in advance of a return to the Rugby field."
Karmichael Hunt had this to say after his court appearance today.
"I made a terrible mistake last year and have no one but myself to blame for this situation. I am genuinely sorry for the distress I have caused my family, friends, team mates, Reds members, sponsors, fans and the wider Rugby and sporting community in Queensland and beyond," he said.
"I intend to work through the education and rehabilitation program and will return to the game in a way that sends a clear message to sports fans of all ages that the use of illicit substances has no place in sport. I am grateful for the support I have received from Queensland Rugby over the past few weeks and intend to repay their loyalty through my future actions on and off the field."
Four other charges of supplying cocaine were dropped when he faced Southport Magistrates Court on the Gold Coast today.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reports Hunt and Titans players Beau Falloon and Jamie Dowling faced a throng of media when they arrived at court this morning.
Dowling, Falloon and Falloon's girlfriend Elise Abood had their case adjourned until May 8
As Karmichael has already been made unavailable for selection for two weeks, he will return to competitive Rugby in Round Eight of the Super Rugby season.
During the period Thursday 5 March to Sunday 22 March he will train at the Reds Ballymore facility at times when the main Reds squad are not training there. He will then integrate within Reds team training sessions from Monday 23 March in advance of the Reds' Round Eight game against the Rebels in Melbourne.
Karmichael Hunt pleads guilty to cocaine charges
HIGH profile Queensland footballer Karmichael Hunt has pleaded guilty to four charges of cocaine possession.
The Queensland Reds player had been served with a notice to appear in court by Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) in February in the drugs scandal which rocked Queensland sport.
Hunt had initially been charged with supplying the drug but the charges were downgraded.
In response to the four charges of possession of cocaine, Hunt responded: "Guilty, your honour.", the ABC reported a short time ago.
The drugs case against Gold Coast Titans players Beau Falloon and Jamie Dowling has been adjourned until May 8.
Falloon and Dowling have had their bail extended, although their argument for an earlier court date was rejected.
Hunt's playing future with the Queensland Reds is expected to be announced today.
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