The NRL has cleared Sam Burgess of domestic violence raised by his ex-wife Phoebe more than a year ago in a series of explosive newspaper articles.
Phoebe had accused the retired South Sydney star of domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse during their marriage, which ended in acrimony in late 2019.
The allegations were published in The Australian newspaper in October 2020 and denied vehemently by Burgess at the time.
Having spent more than 12 months looking at the claims New South Wales Police confirmed its investigation was over last October in a 12-word statement.
‘Following extensive inquiries, no further police action is expected to be taken.’
The NRL has followed suit five months later but looks set to fine Burgess up to $30,000 for other off-field indiscretions including driving with cocaine in his system.
The Australian also alleged the onetime Souths captain had waited outside the home of then rookie Roosters player Billy Smith, who knew a woman involved in a 2018 sexting scandal with Burgess.
The NRL has cleared Sam Burgess of domestic violence claims made more than a year ago by his his ex-wife Phoebe. Burgess is pictured with the former couple’s children Poppy, four, and Billy, two
Phoebe had accused the retired NRL star of domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse during their marriage. The allegations were published in The Australian newspaper in October last year and were denied vehemently by Burgess at the time. Sam and Phoebe are pictured in 2016
Nine rugby league reporter Danny Weidler revealed the potential fine on Friday and wrote on Twitter that the NRL could suspend Burgess for three months.
The NRL has previously confirmed to Daily Mail Australia it has no jurisdiction over the Orara Valley Axemen, the club on the NSW mid north coast where Burgess is coaching.
Burgess’s solicitor Chris Murphy first revealed NSW Police had closed its investigation into his client in a Twitter post on October 21 last year.
‘Re media claims against my client Sam Burgess by ex,’ he wrote.
‘NSW Police Operational Legal Advice unit just recommended no criminal prosecution(s) be preferred against Sam Burgess in relation to these claims.
‘That now concludes this investigation.’
Mr Murphy’s firm has acted for Burgess through a series of legal matters the former Souths captain has faced over the past 17 months.
‘Much hurt and harm has been done to Sam Burgess,’ he wrote on Twitter in a follow-up post.
‘He has been damaged. He wants the public to be made aware that claims have been thoroughly examined and at length by NSW Police and there is nothing for him to be called to answer.’
Burgess was cleared in March last year of having intimidated his father-in-law Mitchell Hooke during a confrontation at the Hooke family’s Southern Highlands home in October 2019. Phoebe is pictured with her father and Burgess
The original reports in The Australian followed ‘a four-month investigation’ and included statements from Phoebe and her father Mitchell Hooke.
The newspaper said the reports released upon ‘pharmaceutical records, sworn statements to NSW Police, statutory declarations and witness accounts’.
They also drew on ‘call logs, emails, text messages, bank records, WhatsApp exchanges and Uber receipts.’
The claims cost Burgess his coaching job with South Sydney and commentary work with Fox Sports.
Defamation lawyer Mark O’Brien, acting for Burgess, said after the stories were published: ‘The claims are false and constitute an indefensible defamation against my client.’
‘It is apparent sources of the false claims that those are currently in dispute with my client over various issues.’
Daily Mail Australia understands Burgess is not contemplating defamation action.
Burgess’s solicitor Bryan Wrench accused Phoebe and her father of setting out to destroy his client’s reputation, which they denied. Burgess is pictured with Mr Wrench and mother Julie Burgess while defending a charge of intimidating Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke
Phoebe had made a 50-page statement containing claims about her former husband’s lifestyle and accusations about his conduct towards her during their troubled relationship.
Much of that material was published in The Australian and NSW Police established Strike Force Strike Force Irrabella to investigate, issuing a brief statement at the time.
‘On Wednesday 30 September 2020, officers from The Hume Police District received a report outlining various claims relating to the conduct of a 31-year-old man,’ it stated.
‘Police have commenced inquiries and as these inquiries are in their infancy, no further comment will be provided at this time.’
The NRL began its own inquiry in October 2020.
‘Now that the police investigation is complete, the NRL Integrity Unit will be able to finalise its own investigation,’ an NRL spokesman said a year later.
Burgess underwent a stint in rehabilitation last year and appeared on SAS Australia (pictured) where he was admitted into fidelity with a woman in Melbourne in 2017.
Souths did not conduct a separate investigation but the club had said it was treating the claims ‘with the utmost seriousness’ when they were originally made.
‘We were, and remain, supportive of and cooperative with the investigations undertaken by NSW Police and the NRL Integrity Unit,’ a club spokesman said in October.
‘We note the statement today from NSW Police and look forward to the NRL Integrity Unit finalizing their investigation.’
The original newspaper stories came as Burgess was facing an accusation he had intimidated Mr Hooke in a confrontation at the Hooke family’s Southern Highlands home the previous year.
Burgess’s lawyers suggested Phoebe and her father had leaked information to The Australian ahead of the intimidation charge being heard.
Both agreed they had given information to The Australian but denied they had done so to destroy Burgess’s reputation.
Phoebe Burgess and her father Mitchell Hooke admitted giving information to The Australian newspaper which was investigated by police. Phoebe said she wanted to expose a culture of covering up bad behavior by players, particularly towards women, in the NRL
Phoebe has said she wanted to expose a toxic culture in the NRL which she claimed included covering up bad behavior by players, particularly against women.
Burgers was cleared in March last year of the intimidation charge and an accompanying apprehended violence order to protect Mr Hooke was withdrawn.
Burgess has since undergone a stint in rehabilitation and appeared on the last season of SAS Australia where he was admitted infidelity with a woman in Melbourne in 2017.
Sam and Phoebe married in 2015, separated in late 2018 and resumed their relationship in early 2019.
They split permanently on October 2 that year and later divorced. The former couple shares custody of daughter Poppy, four, and Billy, two.
Burgess pleaded guilty to driving with traces of cocaine in his system while picking up the children from Bowral in February and was put on a nine-month conditional release order in May.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk