Former NRL player sentenced over wedding assault
FORMER NRL bad boy Anthony Watts repeatedly kneed a man at a wedding to the chest, abdomen and head because he thought the victim was talking about him, the Southport Magistrates Court has heard.
Watts pleaded guilty in Southport Magistrates Court on Friday morning to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair sentenced Watts to three months in prison to be suspended for two years.
"The attack can be described as unprovoked and even gratuitous," Mr Sinclair said.
"The victim, given your size, was able to escape with relatively minor bruising."
Mr Sinclair also ordered Watts to pay $5000 in compensation.
"I am not a follower of sports and I have no idea who you are," he said.
Police prosecutor Bob Falconer told the court Watts and the man were both guests at a wedding in Mudgeeraba when the attack occurred about 8.30pm on August 19, 2016.
The victim was looking for the maid of honour after she asked him to check on another woman.
"A witness heard a female scream," Mr Falconer said.
"The witness saw the defendant continually kneeing the victim to the chest, abdomen and head area."
Mr Falconer said the man was taken to Robina Hospital with severe lacerations.
Watts had attended the wedding with his girlfriend, who was a member of the bridal party.
Watts played for Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney City Roosters before turning his back on his promising NRL career.
He soon after fell into a life of crime, moving in and out of jail, and previously had ties with the notorious Finks and Mongols bikie gangs.
Watts spent eight months in prison in NSW in 2016 and 2017 after assaulting an elderly man.
Defence barrister Tony Kimmins, instructed by Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers, said when Watts was released in June he was ordered to perform eight hours of community service a week.
"He worked at the Tweed Head rubbish dump every week for 12 months," Mr Kimmins said.
He said Watts was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the wedding attack.
"It bears a haunting similarity to the offences in NSW," Mr Kimmins said.
"He believed the complaint had been talking about him during the course of the wedding."
Watts has two months to pay the $5000 in compensation.