Friday Sep 11, 2015 Manu Tuilagi denies assault and says he was injured for RWC anyway

Manu Tuilagi denies assault and says he was injured for RWC anyway
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England centre Manu Tuilagi has denied assaulting two police officers in April, despite pleading guilty to the charges. Tuilagi was speaking at the premiere for the brilliant new film, Pacific Warriors. Tuilagi says he was injured anyway, and Stuart Lancaster knew that.

Tuilagi had reportedly grabbed a taxi driver by the throat and kicked the wing mirror before pushing two female police officers, but he has now said that all that happened was he was grabbed from behind, “so I just pulled my hands away.

“They touched me first and I had no idea they were police officers,” the 24-year-old explained.

Stuart Lancaster axed him from England’s Rugby World Cup squad, but Tuilagi insists that he wouldn’t have been available due to injury, and Lancaster knew that.

“I didn’t assault any of the police officers. It looks like I have basically beaten up the two police officers, which is not the case. In a way, I feel like I’ve been harshly treated. It’s a bit harsh, but life is harsh, you’ve got to put it behind you. I’m still young, I can still hopefully make a good comeback.

“We pleaded guilty because hopefully we wanted to get the case finished and done with.

“That was the plan – to go in, plead guilty and finish the case on that day, which we did. If we’d gone in and not pleaded guilty, we’d have to have adjourned it and that would have been right in the middle of the World Cup.

“It was the plan we went in with, with the lawyer. It was my lawyer. The lawyers said ‘this is the plan’ so I was like the lawyer knows what he is doing and I go with him because I trust him.”

9 Comments

  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g

    No, not illegal. But generally better to keep your mouth shut on these things, doesn't really help anyone if you try to reopen the whole saga.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Eddie, I was talking about this interview where Tuilagi now claims to be innocent. I'd suggest that once you've pleaded guilty and been convicted, you can't then make a public statement claiming your innocence. But is it actually illegal to do so, or just bad form?

    Reply
  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g

    It's not contempt of court - a lawyer, for example, who knows his client is innocent but persuades him to plead guilty is guilty of professional malpractice. But the standard of "knowing" something for certain is very high. What I expect happened here is that the CPS offered Manu's lawyers a plea bargain (something pretty darn common in high profile cases with expensive lawyers on one or both sides), and Manu's lawyers told him you can take what appears to be a good deal, or you can take a chance and go before a jury. Win and you are completely cleared, lose and you go to jail and have massive, crippling legal bills. And I assume here that as Manu's lawyers are good lawyers, they will have it on record that he took the decision to plead guilty. He can't punt responsibility here. The lawyers would have explained his options, would have told him that the plea bargain was the best deal they could get with the CPS, but they ultimately follow his instruction.

    Reply
  • I have no opinion on whether Manu was guilty or not, but people do sometimes plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit. They do it when the police convince them they're going to get it worse if they don't fess up - this is often the case with confused young people or people with mental disabilities. Or they do it when their lawyers think they're going to lose the case and can get a better deal by plea-bargaining and admitting guilt to a crime they didn't commit.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Indeed. Although I reckon England are doing OK for centres at the moment; for a while he left a gaping hole. And I wonder if the lawyer was in fact Tuilagi's lawyer, or the RFU's lawyer, who it appears had a different set of objectives. IF he's telling the truth, questions would need to be asked of the RFU and England rugby management. Personally I'd prefer those questions to be asked no earlier than 31st October though.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    For the record, I can believe this for three main reasons: 1. There was no evidence published - contrast, for example, with the footage of Tindall saying hello to a friend in a bar in NZ 2011. Admittedly that was not a court case so quite different but, in Tuilagi's case, apart from the taxi driver I can't remember even seeing the usual misguided rants from members of the public who happened to be watching and fancy running their mouths of to some gutter hack. Usually some grubby tabloid would get hold of something on this to run after the conviction. 2. I can quite easily see how a bloke of Tuilagi's frame and general appearance getting a bit angry in public could be misconstrued as a more violent episode than it actually was. 3. Sorry to say it, but he does seem pretty dopey and the sort of person who would readily accept a criminal conviction, just because a lawyer told him to do so. If he is telling the truth here, it throws a disturbing spotlight on the whole legal system, doesn't it. Surprising as it may seem, considering the way he presents himself here, there are many far more stupid people out there who, for various reasons, may find themselves wrongly accused. If a professional athlete with agents, managers, etc, can be cajoled into pleading guilty, what hope is there for some scumbag without that type of access? Or maybe I've got that the wrong way round and there's a huge amount more pressure, with all the England Rugby apparatus leaning on Tuilagi to just take the option that's most convenient for them. Another point. I'm no legal expert (that's probably quite clear already!), but isn't claiming innocence in this type of public way, after pleading guilty and being convicted, some kind of lesser crime in itself? Perjury or contempt or court or something?

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Bodyworn cameras for police officers are a thing mate. They're being trialled, with some impressive results, as we speak. They're also very discreet and don't look ridiculous. Presumably the officers in this case did not have them, but as you say there would definitely be witnesses and I would suggest a number of CCTV cameras too.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    You'll have to forgive me, I've unfortunately never passed the bar. But in order to press charges and successfully convict, would there not need to have been evidence of big Manu committing the assault? If he was standing outside a nightclub hailing a taxi I imagine there were plenty of witnesses. So if he is as innocent as he claims, it wouldn't have been that hard to clear is name? I genuinely think strapping a GoPro on all police officers needs to happen - ridiculous as they may look.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    I'm not even sure who you think doesn't value his talent?

    Reply

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Manu Tuilagi denies assault and says he was injured for RWC anyway | RugbyDump