ACT News

Canberra Raiders star Josh Papalii banned and fined for driving on suspended licence

World Cup duties and pre-season training caused Canberra Raiders star Josh Papalii to miss a parking fine that has now got him banned from driving, writers Michael Inman.

World Cup duties and pre-season training caused Canberra Raiders star Josh Papalii to miss a parking fine that has now got him banned from driving.

Papalii, 22, pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday to driving with a suspended licence.

The court fined and banned the Raiders second-rower from driving after he was caught behind the wheel with a suspended licence.

Court documents said Papalii had been stopped by police as he drove from a car park next to the Lighthouse Pub on Emu Bank about 3.20am on Saturday, September 13.

He passed a breath test, but police found his licence had been suspended about seven months earlier due to an unpaid parking fine.

The court heard that Papalii was "polite and co-operative" with police, and he and friends left the scene in a taxi soon after.

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Defence lawyer Michael Kukulies-Smith said his client did not realise his licence had been suspended until told by police.

Mr Kukulies-Smith said the oversight had occurred because the fine had been issued in October 2013 as Papalii went into camp for representative duties with the Australian Kangaroos.

He flew out to the Rugby League World Cup in England days later and remained there until the Kangaroos won in December.

The court heard that Papalii then missed the suspension notice in February as he had been on holiday with family in Samoa and went straight into pre-season training with the Raiders on his return.

"It's quite intense - all daylight hours were spent in training," Mr Kukulies-Smith said.

The defence lawyer said the Queensland Origin representative accepted the circumstances were not a reasonable excuse but showed that Papalii had an "honest belief" his right to drive had been intact.

Mr Kukulies-Smith asked the court to impose a non-conviction order, citing Papalii's clean history, the high regard he was held in and his community service through rugby league.

But Magistrate Bernadette Boss instead convicted Papalii, banning him from driving for one month and imposing a fine of about $450.

Papalii was given one month to pay.

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