Former NRL star Josh Dugan ‘could sue Cronulla for wrongful dismissal’ after being found NOT guilty on one of the charges that led to the Sharks sacking him for breaching the NRL’s Covid-19 policies twice
Former NRL star Josh Dugan could sue Cronulla for wrongful dismissal after he was sacked for alleged repeated breaches of the NRL’s Covid-19 policies.
Dugan escaped without a penalty after being found guilty of violating Covid-19 travel restrictions at the height of the pandemic.
On Friday in Lithgow Local Court, Dugan was found guilty of one count of failure to comply with a notice of direction, but was acquitted by Magistrate Kasey Pearce of another count of failure to comply with a notice of direction.
He registered a conviction but did not impose a further sentence.
and according to Sydney Morning Heraldthe 33-year-old will now consider taking legal action after defeating one of two police charges against him.
Josh Dugan could sue Cronulla for wrongful termination of his contract
Dugan was fired after allegedly violating Covid-19 policies twice in two months
Dugan retired in September last year, just hours after his contract was terminated by the Sharks following a second breach of NRL biosecurity rules. Dugan had two months left on his contract, believed to be worth $850,000 a year.
Two weeks earlier, the former State of Origin star had been fined $50,000 by the NRL for breaching its Covid-19 protocols for the second time in two months after being detained in New South Wales.
Police charged Dugan after he and his housemate, Ben Williams, were arrested in Lithgow, about 150 kilometers northwest of Sydney.
The duo were instructed to return to the New South Wales capital and their place of residence, only to be stopped again less than an hour later driving in the opposite direction.
The court heard that he told police that he was in the process of moving to Yetholme, a rural town between Bathurst and Lithgow.
He told police he was traveling to feed the animals on the property.
Police argued that Mr Dugan knew he was breaking strict Covid travel restrictions, which prohibited travel between Sydney and the New South Wales region during that period.
However, his lawyer Paul McGirr had argued that the police needed to show that the former fullback knew what restrictions were in place at a time when regulations were constantly changing.
“Basically, they couldn’t prove that I knew the laws, which I said no one knew,” McGirr said of the first charge.
‘The (COVID lockdown) laws were a joke, they changed daily, sometimes twice a day.
The 32-year-old retired from the NRL in September last year after playing 215 matches.
The former fullback was found not guilty on one charge of failing to comply with a notified instruction
The former Test star’s legal proceedings were delayed late last year after the legality of Covid sanctions breach notices was called into question following a Supreme Court ruling.
More than 33,000 covid tickets issued in New South Wales have been annulled after the court found that the offenses had not been adequately clearly identified.
Dugan played 215 career NRL matches for Canberra, St George and Cronulla and played 12 times each for New South Wales and Australia.
Less than a month before his first violation of Covid-19 protocols, Dugan had been told by the Sharks that he would not be offered a new contract as part of the team’s decision to revise the roster under incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon.