Blake Ferguson has been found guilty of indecent assault at a hearing at Sutherland Local Court today.
Ferguson was accused of touching a 23 year old woman’s genitals through her dress at a club on June the 16th while on a night out with Josh Dugan as they celebrated selection in the second State Of Origin match.
CCTV footage from the night was played in court that showed the reaction of the assault victim.
Ferguson claimed that it was a case of mistaken identity, that he thought the woman was another person he had “hooked up with” earlier in the night at another club. He also claimed that he did not touch the victim’s genitals, that he had only touched her upper thigh.
“I would like to say sorry to [the victim], I would never touch her in a sexual way,” he told the court. “I’m really sorry I mistaked [sic] her for the girl I hooked up with at Northies. I would never touch a girl like that if I didn’t know them at an intimate level.”
Ferguson’s defense team brought up issues he had faced growing up in court during his defense and his struggles dealing with being a famous, well paid footballer…
“It was quite difficult getting, basically, girls thrown at me,” he said. “I still haven’t … come to terms with all the attention with, like, photos and signatures and all that.”
In the end Magistrate Jacqueline Trad told the court that she believed the victims account of the events and found Ferguson guilty of indecent assault.
Ferguson will be sentenced at a later date.
Ferguson all but walked out on his contract with the Canberra Raiders earlier this season after this event occurred. The NRL Integrity Unit has clearly been waiting for the outcome of this court case before they made any move to penalize Ferguson for his actions.
It is now highly likely that Ferguson will be de-registered by the National Rugby League, a move that will prevent any NRL club from signing him.
A lot of people will now be focused on Blake Ferguson and how this effects his career. What we should all remember is that there is a young woman out there who bravely stood up in court today and who was judged to have been a victim of an assault.
Far too often the victims in these cases are forgotten. The media spotlight that is focused on victims is enough to make many of them not bother going through the process of going to court.
Hopefully the victim in this case and her willingness to go forward with this case gives other victims in our community the strength to do the same.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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