|Violent Welsh rugby player Mitchell fined for savage assault
Welsh rugby union prop Craig Mitchell, 27, has been ordered to pay a man A$3,000 after knocking him out in a bar in Australia at 3am while celebrating the British and Irish Lions' weekend win over Australia.
Mitchell, who has represented his country in 15 tests, was also sentenced to six months in jail but the sentence was suspended for two years, and fined A$1,800 over the incident at a pub in Brisbane, Australia. Prosecutory Justin Gorry called the attack “gratuitous violence.’’
Mitchell was arrested early Sunday after hitting lawyer Cian Barry at the hotel. He spent the night in jail overnight yesterday. The lawyer needed multiple stitches just below his left eye.
Mitchell apologized to Barry after Magistrate Anne Thacker handed down her sentence today, saying “my actions ... were totally unacceptable and unforgivable.''
But Barry said outside the court that Mitchell should have been jailed, and said the apology meant nothing.
“He comes running in from 10 meters away on the side and smashes me off my feet,'' Barry said. “It was horrendous. It was unprovoked violence, everyone's had enough of it.''
The court was told Barry had been trying to smooth over an altercation between his friends and a group of Lions supporters after some jovial sporting banter turned serious.
Barry was first punched by Welsh tourist Richard Andrew Davies, and then by Mitchell, who traveled to Australia to watch the game.
Judge Thacker on Thursday fined Davies US$1,000 and ordered he pay Barry US$2,000 in compensation.
The judge told Mitchell he needed to be made an example of. She said “gratuitous violence’’ was not acceptable.
“It has to deter other Australians from this sort of behavior at football matches,'' she told Mitchell after recording a conviction.