EX-ENGLISH rugby star Sam Burgess has been found guilty of intimidation against his ex-wife's 64-year-old father in Australia.
The dual-code international has received a two-year community corrections order over the angry altercation with Mitchell Hooke in October 2019 at the Sydney home of his then relative.
A New South Wales state magistrate found that the 32-year-old shouted a threat in Hooke's face.
Hooke is a well-known political lobbyist and was previously head of the Minerals Council of Australia.
Magistrate Robert Rabbidge deemed Hooke to be an impressive, believable and consistent witness who gave clear and concise evidence.
But Burgess insisted he was baffled by the court’s decision and plans to appeal.
He told reporters: “I'm confused with the decision, I will appeal the decision and I won't say anything further.”
Burgess, who starred for the likes of Bradford Bulls and Bath, pleaded not guilty to intimidation and a back-up count of common assault.
The assault charge was dismissed.
Magistrate Rabbidge said the Dewsbury-born ace was a ‘physically formidable person, far taller, bulkier and fitter and half the age of his father-in-law’.
They added: “An enraged Sam Burgess would be a frightening figure for any Australian.
“I’ve found you guilty and I note you were going through a lot of agony and it wasn’t easy for you. This was a terrifying experience for Phoebe Burgess, and of course her dad in particular. I must record a conviction.”
Burgess, who retired in 2019 due to a chronic shoulder problem, did admit he was involved in a confrontation with Hooke and that he called him a 'piece of s***' – although he insisted his former father-in-law was the aggressor and had threatened to 'ruin' his career.
The incident occurred during the middle of Burgess’ and Phoebe’s marriage breakdown, with the pair having a son and daughter together,
Hooke claimed he was ‘terrified’ during the exchange and said: “I was resigned to getting hit, I had absolutely no doubt.”
After making 99 appearances for Bradford Bulls, Burgess headed down under to sign for South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia's NRL.
He helped them to title glory in 2014 and then switched codes to Rugby Union but he faced fierce criticism for his displays as England were dumped out in the group stage of the 2015 World Cup on home turf.
He then spent one season at Bath before returning to Souths, who are part-owned by Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, in 2016.
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