The former NRL star, 20 centimetres from his then father-in-law’s face, yelled “I’m going to get you” in expletive-laden rage.
Former South Sydney NRL captain Sam Burgess has been found guilty of intimidating his then-wife’s father, former mining lobbyist Mitchell Hooke.
Burgess will appeal the guilty verdict, he said outside court.
Magistrate Robert Rabbidge found on Friday morning Burgess had intimidated Hooke at his father-in-laws Glenquarry property in October 2019, with the intention of causing him physical and mental harm.
Burgess was convicted and given a two-year community correction order.
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I am confused by the decision, weve appealed the decision, Burgess said. I wont say anything further.
The 32-year-old yelled “f… you, I’m going to get you” 20 centimetres from Hooke’s face during an expletive-riddled rage, sparked when he 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 Rabbidge said in Moss Vale Local Court on Friday.
Burgess denied swearing in the home but admitted angrily cursing when the argument continued in the driveway.
He also accused the father of his estranged wife Phoebe Burgess as being the aggressor.
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Sam Burgess, pictured at Rabbitohs training last year, retired from playing in 2019 because of shoulder problems.
But police attacked the former footballer’s testimony, saying parts did not make sense.
Burgess conceded Hooke said, “What are you going to do? Hit a 64-year-old man?” but claimed the men were metres apart at the time.
“Surely such words could only be uttered after a close encounter,” the magistrate said.
“What is incontrovertible is the shock and distress that Mr Hooke displayed to his daughters and police.”
Burgess’s legal team had alleged Hooke and Ms Burgess set out to harm his 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 the magistrate, who found Hooke’s testimony clear and concise.
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.