- The CEO of Raiders was stunned by the demand from the Director of Public Prosecutions
- Later, ACT officer Sergeant David Power came forward and provided false evidence
- Wighton and fellow NRL star Latrell Mitchell were cleared of all charges
Seething Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner has revealed extraordinary pressure from the ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on NRL star Jack Wighton to publicly apologize following his arrest with Latrell Mitchell outside a nightclub in February.
Both Wighton and Mitchell had all charges dropped in the ACT Magistrates Court earlier this week, 24 hours after a senior police officer involved in their arrests admitted giving false evidence to the court.
The high-profile couple, who are distant cousins and will be teammates at the South Sydney Rabbitohs next season, were cleared after Sergeant David Power – the supervisor of a group of officers involved in the alleged incident – gave his version of events from the had admitted the night before. question was wrong.
Sergeant Power also told the court he had a ‘memory problem’ before denying he ‘invented’ evidence.
The sergeant later apologized to Wighton in court.
Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner has revealed pressure from the ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on Jack Wighton to publicly apologize following his arrest along with Latrell Mitchell in February
Wighton and Mitchell had all charges dropped in the ACT Magistrates Court earlier this week after a senior police officer involved in their arrests admitted providing false evidence
And now an angry Furner has told it Sydney Morning Herald how the DPP in the nation’s capital pushed hard for Wighton to publicly admit his alleged misdeeds well before the hearing.
A letter was sent to Furner in June, stating: ‘The prosecution believes that there is a reasonable prospect of success in this case and it is in the public interest that the prosecution of your client (Wighton) continues.
“If your client were willing to plead guilty to both charges, and issue a public apology to both the responding police and the community for his alleged conduct, the prosecution would not be heard challenging the claim that your client is remorseful and would some need to be shown. leniency from the court upon conviction.
‘Of course, your client could also seek leniency from the court on the grounds that he has not demanded that the matter proceed to a fully contested hearing. This saves court time and public resources.”
After watching the video of the alleged incident, Furner formed the opinion that the players had done nothing wrong – and believes both football stars are now well within their rights to sue the ACT Police.
“We have gone to the police and DPP several times asking for a reasonable explanation as to why they were taken from a nightclub and arrested in the first place, and why the matter came to court,” Furner said.
‘We wanted to know if anything had happened off camera. We take player misconduct seriously and wanted to get to the bottom of the matter.
The pair are pictured together on the night of their alleged fight in February, which saw both men arrested
“When we heard back…” I showed that letter to our board and some attorneys we know, and they had never seen such a request.
“The police and DPP had several opportunities to save costs and embarrassment. But their arrogance and the dishonesty of the ACT police were their downfall.”
Furner added that NRL stars are ‘not asking for special treatment’ and deserve to be ‘treated like normal members of the public.’
“But to march Jack up a flight of stairs with his hands behind his back and push him against a wall, and for absolutely nothing … was an easy story for them that night,” he said.
“I’m actually so happy that they were discovered in such a spectacular way.”