Sam Burgess has been found guilty of intimidating his former father-in-law Mitchell Hooke on a visit to his home in the Southern Highlands in October 2019.
At a court hearing today in front of Moss Vale Local Court magistrate Robert Rabbidge, Burgess, the former South Sydney and England star who retired at the end of the 2019 season, was found to have intimidated Mr Hookewith the intention of causing him physical and mental harm.
Burgess was given a two-year community correction order by the magistrate.
Burgess confirmed immediately that he would appeal against the decision.
“I am confused by the decision, we’ve appealed the decision,” Burgess said outside the court.
“I won’t say anything further.”
Although Burgess gave evidence to the court denying the allegation, the magistrate chose to believe Mr Hooke, accepting the allegation that Burgess had walked over to Mr Hooke during the argument, pointed his finger at him from “1.5 metres to two metres” away and yelled, “You’re a f–king piece of shit, I’m going to get you.”
“This was a terrifying experience for [Burgess’ ex-wife] Phoebe Burgess and her dad,” said he magistrate, who praised Mr Hooke’s evidence as cogent and precise, while suggesting that Burgess’ evidence was “changeable”.
In his submissions to the court last month, Burgess’ barrister Phillip Boulten argued that Phoebe, Burgess’ estranged wife, and her father had deliberately taken serious allegations against her husband Burgess to The Australian newspaper in a 50-page affidavit in an effort to damage his client’s reputation ahead of the court proceedings.
But that appeared to cut no ice with the court.
Burgess is currently stood down from his coaching position at the Rabbitohs.
Both the NRL and the Rabbitohs said no action will be taken against Burgess until the NRL’s own investigation was complete, which is expected in the coming weeks.