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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Rugby league stars jailed
Chev Walker
Walker has helped Leeds to the top of the Super League table
Three rugby league players, including two of the current Great Britain squad, have been jailed after being caught on camera brawling in the street.

Leeds Rhinos and England star Chev Walker, 20, was sent to a young offenders' institution for 18 months.

Rhino's team-mate and Great Britain squad member Ryan Bailey, 19, was also given nine months detention in a young offenders institution at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday.

The third player, Rochdale Hornets' Paul Owen, 24, was jailed for 15 months for his part in a fight which broke out outside a Leeds night-club in July last year.

Another Leeds player, Dwayne Barker, 19, was ordered to do 150 hours of community service by Judge Paul Batty QC at Leeds Crown Court.

The judge said Barker had played a limited role in the violence.

Ryan Bailey
Bailey has been a regular in the Leeds side this season

All four pleaded guilty to violent disorder at a previous hearing.

The court heard how the brawl began after Owen was said to have been tricked into handing over his mobile phone to an unidentified woman outside Creation nightclub.

As he tried to recover it, the Leeds players thought she was being assaulted and set about Owen.

A four-minute video of the brawl was played which showed the Leeds players trading kicks and blows with Owen.

At one point Owen was seen to punch Barker to the ground and as he struggled to regain his feet he was kicked in the head and knocked out.

Each of you brought disgrace on the game of rugby league, on your clubs and most of all on yourselves
Judge Paul Batty QC
The chief executive of Leeds Rhinos, Gary Hetherington, head coach Daryl Powell and club chaplain Steve Mitchell, all appeared at court to provide character references.

Ray Taylor, the chairman of Rochdale Hornets, appeared on behalf of Owen.

Sentencing the players, Judge Batty said the violence which erupted outside the nightclub was "mindless, dangerous and drunken".

He said: "CCTV footage graphically illustrated in clear terms what each of you did during the four minutes of violence.

"You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.

"Each of you brought disgrace on the game of rugby league, on your clubs and most of all on yourselves."

'Paid the price'

Mr Hetherington refused to be drawn on the Leeds players' futures but said the matter would be dealt with through the club's own internal procedures.

He said: "This has been totally out of character and the players have paid the price.

"It is something they will regret for the rest of their lives and for which they have been severely punished.

"Everybody is capable of making mistakes, that is my reaction to everybody in life."

The BBC's John Thorne
"The club will review what will happen to them when they come out"

Rhinos condemn guilty stars
29 Jul 03  |  Rugby League

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