Former South Sydney NRL captain Sam Burgess will head to Goulburn next week as he appeals a court’s finding that he intimidated his then wife’s father, former mining lobbyist Mitchell Hooke.
A NSW magistrate in February found the 32-year-old had yelled “f*** you, I’m going to get you” 20 centimetres from Mr Hooke’s face during an expletive-riddled rage, sparked when Burgess was asked to leave the Hookes’ Southern Highlands property in October 2019.
“I accept Mr Hooke was terrified, that his whole body went cold,” magistrate Robert Rabbidge said in Moss Vale Local Court.
Burgess was found guilty of intimidation and was ordered to be of good behaviour and to stay away from Mr Hooke’s home and workplace for two years.
He immediately lodged an all-grounds appeal, which the Goulburn District Court on Monday set down for hearing on March 22.
The appeal is due to take half a day, with Burgess’s solicitor Bryan Wrench telling the court barrister Phillip Boulten SC will again represent the retired England international.
Burgess in February said he was “confused” by the court’s decision.
He’d given evidence Mr Hooke was the aggressor and that the men had been metres apart when angrily cursing each other on the property’s driveway.
The former footballer’s legal team had alleged Mr Hooke and Ms Burgess set out to harm Burgess’s career and reputation by making the allegation and orchestrating a damaging expose on the retired Rabbitoh published by News Corp Australia in October 2020.
But that was dismissed by Mr Rabbidge, who said Mr Hooke’s version was clear and concise, as opposed to the defendant’s “changeable” testimony.
“What is incontrovertible is the shock and distress that Mr Hooke displayed to his daughters and police,” the magistrate said.
Burgess retired in 2019 after a 270-game NRL and English Super League career and stints with England’s national rugby union and rugby league sides.
He stood down from roles as a commentator and South Sydney assistant coach in October.