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Dragons player Craig Garvey faces jail over pub assault


Shannon Tonkin

Craig Garvey: found guilty of assaulting a man in a pub.

Craig Garvey: found guilty of assaulting a man in a pub. Photo: Sylvia Liber

St George Illawarra Dragons player Craig Garvey is facing a possible jail term after being found guilty of violently assaulting a man in a Wollongong pub in February.

Garvey punched Christopher Allan repeatedly after the two got into an argument on the dance floor of Hotel Illawarra on February 27 while Garvey was on a night out with Dragons teammates.

The assault left Mr Allan with a bloody cut to his left eye.

Garvey admitted to throwing the first punch in the melee, but claimed he had acted in self defence after Mr Allan shoved him in the chest, causing him to stumble backwards.

Garvey said the push, along with what he claimed was Mr Allan's "aggressiveness" towards him, left him fearing for his safety and caused him to react violently.

"As soon as I felt the push I felt I had to defend myself in some way," the 21-year-old told Kiama Local Court on Tuesday.

"I thought I was going to get tackled or hit."

Magistrate Mark Richardson accepted that Garvey's fear for his safety had been real, but ruled his reaction to that fear - the violent assault - had been over the top.

"The response of Mr Garvey to the situation he found himself in was disproportionate and not reasonable to the threat as he perceived it," Magistrate Richardson said, noting Mr Allan had not laid a hand on Garvey during their encounter aside from the push.

Following the guilty verdict, police prosecutor Matt Zalunardo flagged that he would be asking the court to consider a prison sentence for Garvey given the seriousness of the assault.

Magistrate Richardson agreed to adjourn the matter for a sentencing options report to be prepared.

It is likely any prison sentence for Garvey would be suspended, given his clean criminal record and otherwise good character.

Earlier in the day, the court heard from several witnesses including Mr Allan and his friend, James Stimson, who both claimed the Dragons hooker had approached them, seemingly out of nowhere, and threatened Mr Allan.

Mr Allan said he and Mr Stimson were standing near the back wall of the crowded dance floor when Garvey approached them.

He said Garvey appeared to "go to walk past us" but stopped and turned towards Mr Allan, telling him: "I'm going to knock you the f*** out, you're being a smart arse".

Mr Allan said the comment surprised him, as he had no idea who Garvey was.

"I said 'I don't know what you are talking about, I haven't done anything to you, I don't know who you are, I don't want to fight you'," Mr Allan told the court.

But he claimed Garvey continued the threats, before pushing his forehead against Mr Allan's forehead in an aggressive manner.

Fearing for his safety, Mr Allan said he pushed Garvey in the chest with both hands, causing Garvey to stumble backwards.

He claimed Garvey then came towards him and punched him "four to five times", causing him to bend over and hold his arms around his face for protection.

He claimed Garvey continued to punch him, hitting him in the eye with an upper cut.

Mr Allan denied suggestions from Garvey's lawyer, Matt Johnston, that he had first tried to grab Garvey on the arm as he walked past him on the dance floor, before swearing at him when Garvey asked what his problem was.

"I suggest to you when he said 'what's your problem' you said to him words to the effect of 'f*** off' or 'shut the f*** up'," Mr Johnson said.

"I never said that," Mr Allan replied.

Both men had been drinking before the fight but were not heavily intoxicated.

Garvey will be sentenced on September 26.

The Illawarra Mercury

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NRL Season 2015

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PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
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CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
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MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
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CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
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Round 11
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Round 12
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PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
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GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
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STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
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Round 13
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BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
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NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
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CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
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CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
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WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
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NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
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GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
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CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
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NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
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SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
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CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
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PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
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CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
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Round 20
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BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
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NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
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PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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Round 21
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SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
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NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
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SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
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GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
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BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
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NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
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MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
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CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
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Round 23
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NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
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BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
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WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
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CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
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CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
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Round 24
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STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs MEL 15 Report Stats
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 30vs SOU 0 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN 30vs NEW 12 Stats
STG 32vs WST 30 Stats
NQL 42vs GCT 12 Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR 24vs CBR 28 Stats
CRO 12vs MAN 14 Stats
CBY 26vs NZW 22 Stats
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BRI 16vs NQL 12 Report Stats
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CRO 28vs SOU 12 Report Stats
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Telstra Premiership Finals Round 2
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SYD 38vs CBY 12 Report Stats
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NQL 39vs CRO 0 Report Stats
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Telstra Premiership Finals Round 3
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BRI 31vs SYD 12 Stats
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MEL 12vs NQL 32 Stats
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Telstra Premiership Finals Round 4
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NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Sydney Roosters 24 18 6 0 291 40
Brisbane Broncos 24 17 7 0 195 38
North Queensland Cowboys 24 17 7 0 133 38
Melbourne Storm 24 14 10 0 119 32
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 14 10 0 42 32
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 14 10 0 -7 32
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 13 11 0 -2 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 24 12 12 0 27 28
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