Former NRL player Curtis Scott has failed in an appeal to overturn convictions for assaulting and threatening his former partner, long jumper Tay-Leiha Clark.
Attempts by Scott’s lawyers to discredit Clark’s evidence were rejected by Judge Alister Abadee during a hearing at Sydney’s Downing Center District Court on Friday.
Judge Abadee told the court that he accepted that the couple’s relationship was “marked by emotional abuse… born of jealousy.”
She discovered that Scott’s jealousy was fueled by the content Clark posted on his Instagram, the fear that she would leave him, and the belief that she was the reason for his problems.
Scott, 25, who appeared in court, was visibly frustrated with Judge Abadee’s findings, at one point turning and whispering to supporters, whereupon the judge told him not to interrupt.
Scott (pictured left outside court on Friday) looked visibly frustrated when his appeal failed.
Judge Alister Abadee said Scott’s actions were fueled by his jealousy over his ex-girlfriend Tay-Leiha Clark’s Instagram posts (pictured)
Last year, Scott was found guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm, common battery and intimidation. He was sentenced to a 12-month community corrections order and fined $1,400.
The sentence took into account the cancellation of Scott’s NRL contract after the allegations surfaced in 2021 and his inability to play top level rugby league in the future.
The former Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders center admits he and Clark had a “turbulent” relationship, but maintains he never assaulted her or threatened to kill her.
In appealing the convictions, Scott’s lawyers argued, among other things, that there were reliability issues and inconsistencies in Clark’s evidence that were not sufficiently taken into account during the trial.
Scott (pictured outside court on Friday) was seeking to have his conviction vacated for assault causing actual bodily harm, common battery and intimidation.
Clark posted a photo of herself enjoying a vacation in Italy (pictured) on social media during her ex-boyfriend’s appeal.
Scott (pictured playing for the team) was fired by the Canberra Raiders in 2021 after he was accused of assaulting Clark.
Judge Abadee found that Clark had exaggerated evidence that Scott abused her on a daily basis when they lived together in a Melbourne property along with fellow Storm members Scott Drinkwater and Brandon Smith.
However, she said she did not give “a lot of weight” to that, due to Clark being a young adult at the time and potentially fearing for his safety, leading her to exaggerate what had occurred.
It took Clark about two and a half years from the date of the last incident before he went to the police, which the court found was in part out of concern for Scott’s well-being.
During the original court hearing, Magistrate Daniel Covington found that Scott had put his hand around Clark’s neck and “thrown” her across a living room into a wall, during a 2018 incident at her parents’ Sylvania home in south Sydney.
The District Court heard Friday that Clark was left with scratches and an egg-sized lump on his head.
The couple’s relationship was “on and off” in the lead up to the assault, and Scott flew into a rage, telling Clark, “You’re going to leave me.” Why do you like this?’
Scott (pictured playing for the Raiders in 2021) has not played in the NRL since he was sacked
In another incident that occurred while the couple was on holiday on the south coast of New South Wales, the former center “charged” Clark after the couple argued and knocked her to the ground.
Scott was also found guilty of intimidating Clark over the phone after the couple broke up, with the magistrate accepting that he told him to ‘fuck you, I’m going to kill you’. You suck, and he also threatened to kill himself, before driving his vehicle into a tree.
Judge Abadee described Scott’s actions as “self-pitying” and “vindictive”.
“During a final act of heightened emotional abuse, he threatened the complainant with death,” he said.
“A reasonable person would have felt that (he) couldn’t leave the relationship and his threat was genuine.”
Scott told media outside of court that he was disappointed with the outcome and stands up for who he is as a person.
You can bring another appeal against the convictions to the Supreme Court.