Canberra Raiders fullback Jack Wighton has been sentenced to a suspended jail term and fined for drunkenly assaulting five men in a 20-minute rampage.
CCTV footage of the February rampage shows Wighton urinate in the street and assault five men in three separate incidents, including one fan who appeared to just want to shake the NRL star's hand.
Wighton, 25, appeared for sentencing in the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court on Wednesday on two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, three counts of common assault, and one charge of public urination.
He was fined $3500, received a two-month suspended jail sentence and was placed on a one-year good-behaviour bond.
Footage of the incident, tendered in court, shows Wighton leaving a Civic nightclub about 2.45am on February 3.
He repeatedly strikes, headbutts, and shoves a man leaning against a wall.
Soon after, the NRL star shoves and then punches another man who had appeared to have recognised Wighton and wanted to shake his hand.
About 10 minutes later, Wighton is urinating on the road when he turns on three nearby men.
Wighton, who has urine soaked patches on his pants, aggressively approaches the trio before punching and headbutting them.
One of the men punches Wighton in response, before the fullback, bleeding from the nose, returns to the fray, punching one of the victims into a glass shopfront.
Wighton told police investigating the incident that he didn't remember anything from the night out and had woken up the next day with a "shiner".
Wighton has already been punished by the NRL over the attacks.
He was slapped with a 10-match ban and fined $30,000 after the integrity unit viewed the footage earlier this year. The ban prematurely ended the fullback's 2018 NRL season.
Wighton read an apology outside court after the sentence.
"I'd also like to take the opportunity to apologise to the victims of the incident for any pain I may have caused them and their families," he said.
"There are no excuses for my behaviour. I want to let them know that I'm truly sorry for what happened that night."
Earlier, Wighton told the court of his remorse and that he accepted full responsibility for his actions.
He said the offences had also had a big impact on his family and he wanted to apologise to the victims.
"I wish it didn't happen. If I could take it back, I would," he said.
"It was a big muck up on my behalf."
Wighton said he had sought counselling and volunteered to work for the PCYC.
He admitted he had too much to drink on the night, but said he still drank and denied he had an issue with alcohol.
"I like to drink, but I don’t know if it's a problem," he told the court.
Prosecutor Katie McCann, during Wednesday's sentence hearing, said Wighton had been highly culpable and the conduct had been objectively serious.
Ms McCann said the incidents had been a series of unprovoked acts of violence on victims Wighton did not know.
She said Wighton had been the aggressor and ignored attempts to de-escalate the situation.
"It is unacceptable in our community. Offences like this by young men … must be deterred," Ms McCann said.
She said people should be able to feel safe at night and not be the target of alcohol-fuelled violence.
Ms McCann urged the court to treat Wighton like any other defendant, and not give too much weight to extra curial punishment - such as public embarrassment and NRL sanctions over the issue - he had already received.
Defence barrister Jason Moffett said his client had already endured extra punishment via an NRL ban and fine, and media coverage.
"He's not Jack Wighton the plumber, he's Jack Wighton the Canberra Raiders fullback," Mr Moffett said.
Mr Moffett argued community service would be an appropriate sentence for the offences, and said Wighton already completed community work with children via the PCYC.
Magistrate Bernadette Boss, in handing down sentence, acknowledged the seriousness of the offending and the effects it had had on the victims, saying it had been fortunate the victims had not been more severely injured.
Dr Boss accepted Wighton's remorse and took into account extra curial punishment he had already received, including public embarrassment and a significant fine.
However, she said the community needed to be protected from alcohol violence.
"A single blow can kill," she said.
That was also a concern of the panel of Indigenous elders who sit in the court, stating how dangerous a punch to the head can be.
But they were also concerned about Wighton's well-being going forward and urged him to "hold his head high" despite the incident - even contact them himself if he needed someone to talk to.
They asked Wighton to show they could trust him as a role model and to assure them the incident was "an aberration of character".
"We need strong, young men to be mentors [in the indigenous community]," they said during sentencing.
"We want you to hold your head high and move on, but don't forget what happened. We don't want to see this happen again."
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