LONDON (AFP) - England rugby player Danny Cipriani pleaded guilty on Thursday (Aug 16) to common assault and resisting arrest after an incident at a nightclub on Jersey which left a female police officer bruised.
The 30-year-old was fined 2,000 pounds (S$3,500) – 1,500 for resisting arrest and 500 for assault – and ordered to pay 250 pounds in compensation to the officer when he appeared at Jersey Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
The mercurial international, whose England future after another episode in a career marked by controversy and ill-discipline could now be in doubt, said in a statement that he was “truly sorry” for what he had done.
Cipriani was arrested early on Wednesday morning in St Helier, Jersey, while on the island for pre-season preparations with his English club side Gloucester.
The club put out a statement saying that Cipriani would receive their “full support”.
The prosecution said the incident happened at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier when Cipriani became verbally and physically abusive to a doorman who had tried to stop him taking his drinks outside.
When the doorman activated a body camera he was wearing, Cipriani became more aggressive and tried to pull it off him, leading the doorman to call the police, the court heard.
When Cipriani then tried to resist arrest by the police officer and two of her colleagues, he pushed her in the chest area and held on to her collar and shirt before he was finally restrained and taken to the police station.
The court also heard she sustained bruising to her right bicep and neck.
Cipriani accepted he did take hold of the officer’s collar and admitted he was “mortified” if he harmed her in any way, said defence lawyer Mike Preston.
“He is very sorry for his behaviour. He know he let himself, his family and his club down,” Preston added.
Cipriani apologised in a statement.
“I want to start with a heartfelt apology,” he said.
“To my club, teammates, supporters and most importantly the police. They have a tough and vital job and I’m mortified that, earlier this week, I acted in a way that I hugely regret. I am truly sorry.
“It goes without saying, given the words of the Magistrate, that I didn’t strike anyone or initiate aggression in any way.”
Gloucester CEO Stephen Vaughan said: “He (Cipriani) knows his responsibilities and is aware of the impact of this type of incident on the club.
“However, Danny is a Gloucester Rugby player and will receive our full support as we focus on the exciting season ahead.”
Cipriani returned to the England squad earlier this year, having made his first test start for 10 years against South Africa in Cape Town in June.
He joined Gloucester at the end of last season from Premiership rivals Wasps.
Cipriani has been warned by England coach Eddie Jones over his conduct following a number of off-field issues during his career.
They included a training-ground fight with a Wasps team mate and a nightclub incident while playing for Australia’s Melbourne Rebels in 2011. Cipriani was also hit by a bus on a night out with Sale team mates in 2013.