Effort to ruin the career of Sam Burgess from far away, court hears
A lawyer for Sam Burgess claims that the deliberate attempt by the ex-wife of the former league star and her father to ruin his career will continue after court proceedings, a court has heard.
On Friday, at Moss Vale Municipal Court, defense lawyer Phillip Boulten, SC, made his closing submissions, while Mr. Burgess continues to battle one charge each of coercion and assault.
After an alleged altercation between the former Rabbitohs captain and the father of Phoebe Burgess, Mitchell Hooke, on his Glenquarry property in the Southern Highlands in October 2019, Mr. Burgess pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr. Boulten told the court that Ms. Burgess and Mr. Hooke had knowingly coordinated an attempt to "damage" the credibility of his client by making serious charges against Mr. Burgess public before the date of the trial.
Ms. Burgess revealed to the court in November that she and her father had made the decision to hand Mr. Burgess a 50-page affidavit to The Australian outlining suspected drug use and domestic abuse.
On Friday morning, Mr. Burgess was in the witness box and told the court how Mr. Hooke told him during the incident: "I'm going to make sure I ruin your career if it's the last thing I do."
"Mitch Hooke and Phoebe Burgess have tried to destroy the career of my client, this case is part of it, and it won't stop here," Mr. Boulten said during his final submissions.
It was done purposely to do harm to the credibility of my client. It is in line with the statement of my client that Mr. Hooke told him that I'm going to get you and I'm going to make sure that I ruin your career.
Mr. Burgess admitted the pair had a physical altercation during his time in the witness box, but said they were five or six meters away from each other.
He called the incident a "little argument" but acknowledged that at the time he was frustrated and angry.
The former captain of the Rabbitohs said he visited the property from 2pm to 4pm before he was asked to leave by Mr. Hooke.
Mr. Burgess said the dispute started when he started walking to his car and told Mr. Hooke, "Mitch, I think you're a bad person inside and out, and that's why Phoebe is the way she is."
Mr. Burgess said that to continue the dispute, Mr. Hooke then followed him out to the car.
"He yelled back and said, 'F—-you, Sam,' " said Mr. Burgess.
"I came back to serve and said, 'F—-you, Mitch, are a piece of crap.'"
"He said, 'Sam, you're not loved by anyone. You're not loved by your own kin. We love you and you throw all of it away.'
The argument ended when Harriet Hooke, the sister of Ms Burgess, intervened and "ushered" her father inside.
After the argument to let her know that he had left the house, Mr. Burgess told the court that he texted Ms. Burgess before she responded, "Don't ever tell me again."
Shortly after that, she then sent a follow-up text saying, "Harriet witnessed that." You're a swine. You are a low, utter existence. Well, how dare you. We are done. At least people have seen who you really are right now, you f—-.
Mr. Burgess confessed to having had four Great Northern beer schooners before the visit, but said that when he arrived at the house, he was sober.
Mr. Boulten asked Mr. Burgess: "Would you consider yourself alcohol-infected?" ”
"None whatsoever," replied Mr. Burgess.
Police Attorney Jamie Palmer believed that Mr. Burgess blamed Mr. Hooke for engaging in his broken marriage, leading him to lash out and threaten his father-in-law that he was going to "get him" and "come after him."
"It is not true," said Mr. Burgess.
Ms Palmer also argued that Mr Burgess was standing over Mr Hooke, pointing at him during the incident while shouting obscenities.
Mr. Burgess acknowledged that Mr. Hooke had said, "Are you going to hit a 64-year-old man, then?" He simply chuckled in reply during the debate, but said.
"I have never raised my voice," said Mr. Burgess.
In her closing submissions, Ms Palmer argued that during his tenure as a businessman, Mr Hooke was a man used to coping with heated encounters, but was left "shaken" after his encounter with Mr Burgess.
She said, "This is not a man who is a wilting flower." "And yet he was concerned that he'd be hit if he took a step backwards."
On February 5, a judgment will be delivered at Moss Vale Local Court.