NRL star ‘livid’ at cops as footage drops
Rugby league star Curtis Scott has had police assault charges dropped after arrest footage played to a court showed him doing little more than "dreamily" raising his arms at officers while passed out.
Police prosecutor Rebecca Becroft dropped five charges, including two counts of assaulting police and one count of resisting arrest, in the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, bringing to an end a nearly nine-month ordeal for the Canberra Raiders outside back.
Scott, 22, pleaded guilty to two lesser charges but was cleared of the more serious allegations that he had assaulted two police officers after he was found passed out underneath a tree following boozy Australia Day celebrations earlier this year.
The charges were withdrawn after police bodycam footage played to the court showed an unconscious Scott waving his arms at officers as they attempted to rouse him from his slumber at the foot of a fig tree.
Magistrate Jennifer Giles said one of the allegations of police assault amounted to Scott "dreamily" waving his arms to brush away an attempt to wake him.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Scott is now considering taking action against the officers involved.
"He (Scott) is absolutely livid about this," Scott's lawyer Sam Macedone was quoted by the publication. "He certainly wants to consider it (taking further action)."
The police prosecution case collapsed after the clip also showed officers arresting him while he was still passed out.
At no point did the officers tell Scott that he was under arrest before placing him in handcuffs while he was still unconscious.
Police were called after a SCG Trust security guard found Scott passed out near Driver Avenue - just metres from NRL headquarters.
When police arrived shortly after 2am, they shone a strong torchlight in his face and attempted to wake him by pinching his nose and rubbing his sternum three times.
The Raiders outside back then waved their hands away before one of the officers said: "Stop, don't resist mate."
He was then handcuffed while his eyes were closed and passed out.
"Come on, get off me c**t," Scott is heard telling the officers as he briefly regains consciousness.
The prosecution said police feared Scott was affected by drugs or alcohol and handcuffed him for his and their safety.
But Mr Thangaraj successfully argued that when police applied the handcuffs, he was never told he was under arrest, and therefore he could not be guilty of any alleged offence that happened after that - including assaulting police and resisting arrest.
"It is drawing a very long and frightening bow to argue the police can handcuff someone they're trying to wake up who is sleeping underneath a tree that is not under arrest," Magistrate Giles said.
Police then withdrew five of the charges.
The matter will return to court on Thursday when Scott's lawyers will apply for Scott to be paid costs. They are seeking a six-figure settlement.
Scott was given leave by the NRL to exit the Raiders' COVID-19 bubble to attend court on Thursday and will now be allowed back in once he undergoes a coronavirus test and receives a negative result.
He has not been named in the Raiders side to play the Dragons on Saturday due to injury.
Scott did not speak to waiting media, but outside court Scott's lawyer Sam Macedone said his on-field performance had been affected while he was facing the allegations.
The court was played 72 seconds of police bodycam footage; however, it did not show the entirety of the incident.
Scott was also tasered and pepper sprayed by police during the confrontation; however, that portion of the footage was not played to the court.
The court heard that later on one of the officers stood on Scott's ankle while it was resting on a tree root, causing him to kick out.
"He was clearly acting in self defence," Mr Thangaraj said.
He had at that point also been pepper sprayed with Mr Thangaraj arguing he was already "writhing in tears and pain"
He was then punched in the back several times by a male officer, which Mr Thangaraj said amounted to Scott being assaulted by police.
Asked if he would be asking for the police officers to be charged, Mr Macedone said: "I won't make that comment at this stage, not publicly anyway."
The crown prosecution said that police were called after a man approached a taxi at nearby Paddington and began acting in an aggressive manner.
He was soon after seen in the middle of the roadway and threw a mobile phone at a passing car.
Scott pleaded guilty to two counts of behaving in an offensive manner.
Originally published as NRL star 'livid' at cops as footage drops