AFL

Dustin Martin cleared of serious misconduct, given suspended fine by Richmond

Richmond have punished star midfielder Dustin Martin with a $5000 suspended fine, as they move to end the long-running "chopstick" story.

The Tigers confirmed on Thursday that an AFL investigation had cleared Martin of any serious wrongdoing in connection with allegations he threatened a woman with a chopstick at a Japanese restaurant last month.

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'Dustin Martin physically threatened me'

As reported in December 2015: the woman at the centre of the Dustin Martin "chopstick" furore speaks out about the actions of the Richmond footballer.

As such, chief executive Brendon Gale confirmed the 24-year-old would not be suspended for any matches because there was no evidence to suggest a "threat to harm occurred", according to the investigation.

Gale said the appropriate course of action was to fine Martin for being intoxicated and for using obscene language during the altercation.

Incident: Dustin Martin was found to have breached the players' code of conduct.
Incident: Dustin Martin was found to have breached the players' code of conduct. Photo: Wayne Taylor

The AFL inquiry supported a Victoria Police investigation that also concluded no criminal offence had taken place.  

"Nonetheless, the club is disappointed that Dustin was intoxicated on the night," Gale said. "When challenged by the complainant for being disruptive, he was argumentative and used obscene language.

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"He has acknowledged this and has apologised for any offence or distress his behaviour caused. His apology was accepted by the complainant.

"As a professional athlete Dustin enjoys a privileged lifestyle. With professionalism comes responsibility, and we expect much better from our players and all personnel.

"The allegations of threat to harm aired on Channel Seven, and subsequently reported widely across the media, have been extremely distressing and damaging for Dustin, and of great concern to the Richmond Football Club.

"Richmond Football Club finds any threat of violence against women totally unacceptable and condemns such behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

"However, as with every other member of the community, Dustin was entitled to the presumption of innocence until this very serious allegation was fully investigated."

Given the outcome of the investigation, the AFL left the framing of Martin's punishment to Richmond, and the league's general counsel Andrew Dillon said the AFL was satisfied with the sanction, issued as a breach of the "player code of conduct".

Also on Thursday, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced a review of both the industry's "respect and responsibility policy" and approaches to dealing with allegations of intimidating, threatening or violent behaviour towards women. 

Victorian human rights and equal opportunity commissioner Kate Jenkins has agreed to oversee the review.

"Our respect and responsibility policy was developed in 2005 and it is very timely to have it reviewed," McLachlan said. "We understand our responsibilities to continue to improve our approach to these issues, and I know we still have work to do to hold the respect and trust of the community.

"We want to continue to change the culture of our game."