Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:23 UK

Rugby star is sentenced for GBH

Wigan's Iafeta Palea'aesina
The defence said the star was "provoked" by the victim

Wigan rugby league player Iafeta Palea'aesina has been sentenced to 200 hours community service for breaking a bus driver's jaw.

The 17st (108kg) New Zealand prop forward punched James Campbell, 29, in the face during an incident at Wigan North Western railway station.

The 26-year-old, of Rufford, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm at Liverpool Crown Court.

Palea'aesina was also ordered to pay 1,000 compensation to Mr Campbell.

He was also ordered to pay his own legal bill and make a 250 contribution towards the prosecution costs.

'Disparaging comments'

The assault took place at 0430 GMT on 6 October, in the car park of the railway station and just hours after Wigan were knocked out of the Super League play-offs by Leeds.

Palea'aesina, of Holmeswood Road, had been on a night out after returning from Wigan and was returning to his car with two fellow players and two women when he became involved in a confrontation with Mr Campbell.

On this occasion you lost control, it is highly unusual in your life
Judge Adrian Lyon

Neville Biddle, prosecuting, told the court Mr Campbell started making disparaging comments about the match before the defendant hit him and he fell to the ground.

Mr Biddle told the court Palea'aesina and his friends then went to the car and drove off without helping the victim but the incident was captured on CCTV.

Mr Campbell suffered a broken jaw - which required hospital treatment - and was left "shocked and shaken" by the incident.

Paul Becker, defending, told the court: "The defendant was provoked and wound up by an intoxicated individual who was goading him about his track suit and his team's performance.

"The verbal abuse just went too far."

'Exercise control'

He added: "The defendant accepts he acted improperly and is extremely sorry for what he did and the injuries he caused."

Mr Becker urged Judge Adrian Lyon to limit the sentence to ensure that Palea'aesina was able to secure an Australian visa, should he be selected to play for Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup finals next October.

Judge Lyon noted that Palea'aesina had only ever received one yellow card throughout his playing career and said he considered the incident out of character.

He said: "I am told that throughout the course of your professional career you have only ever been given one yellow card.

"That seems to me to illustrate the control you are able to exercise on the field in what can be a violent game.

"On this occasion you lost control, it is highly unusual in your life"




SEE ALSO
Rugby star facing assault trial
04 Feb 08 |  Manchester
Rugby star denies assault charge
04 Dec 07 |  Manchester

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