Ben Barba turns himself in to police over casino incident that had him banned by NRL
Ben Barba was sacked by the Cowboys and deregistered by the NRL after the incident at Townsville Casino. (AAP: Michael Chambers)
Banned rugby league star Ben Barba has been charged with two counts of public nuisance, following an alleged incident at a Townsville Casino involving his partner in January, when he was training with the North Queensland Cowboys.
- Ben Barba was sacked by the Cowboys and banned by the NRL after the Townsville Casino incident
- He will face court this month on two counts of public nuisance
- Barba’s lawyer says he still hopes to play rugby league this year
The 29-year-old presented himself to Mackay Police Station on Tuesday morning and was issued with the notice to appear in court on March 22.
Barba’s lawyer Campbell MacCallum said he had not yet seen any of the evidence, but Barba hoped to have the playing ban overturned.
“(Barba) didn’t enter into a record of interview with police, so at this stage we’re just waiting to see what facts they’re going to allege,” Mr MacCallum said.
“He’s quite distressed … but he wants to get back and play rugby league, he’s hoping that he will be playing rugby league this year.
“We’re certainly exploring our options.
“My view at this stage is that he’s probably a bit unlucky to be charged at all … there’s no official complaint from any person, there’s no evidence that he’s committed any offence apart from the say so of the police.”
Barba, who won the Dally M Medal in 2012, was sacked by the North Queensland Cowboys over the alleged incident, before he had played a single match for the club.
The NRL also handed Barba a lifetime ban in response to the Townsville incident, with NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg saying at the time he did not see any time in the future when Barba would play rugby league in Australia again.