Former Rabbitohs star’s alleged victim breaks down in court


A woman who was allegedly groped by a former NRL star while trying to procure a jersey for a charity event has broken down in court as her friend detailed the moment she told him about the incident.

George Burgess, 31, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of sexually touching another person without consent while at the woman’s Mascot home in Sydney in March 2022.

The former St George Illawarra Dragons forward admitted to going to the home of the woman, whom he had known for about a decade, after agreeing to provide a signed jersey.

On Monday, a friend of the woman took to the witness stand at Downing Centre Local Court, and told the court of the moment she received a call from the woman, who was “quite shaken up”, after the alleged incident.

Former NRL star George Burgess is charged with groping a woman’s bum without her consent. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian ShawSource: News Corp Australia

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sat in the front of the public gallery.

“She is quite a bubbly talkative person, she seemed a bit unsettled just from hearing her voice,” the friend told the court.

The friend told the court the woman said Mr Burgess “essentially tried to make a move”.

“He arrived, gave her the jersey and tried to kiss her,” the friend said.

“She tried to deflect and get out of the situation, move to the kitchen and make a cup of tea, where he had followed her.”

The friend told the court Mr Burgess had grabbed her “on her bum” and at another point locked her in between the bench with “either side of his arms”.

When asked again by police prosecutor Adrian Walsh where Mr Burgess allegedly touched the woman, the friend said “on the bum”.

The alleged victim put her head back and burst into tears before leaving the courtroom.

After the woman left the courtroom, the friend said the woman told her she had asked Mr Burgess about whether he was married and had a family.

“She said that he said, ‘Yeah, but you know how it is’,” the friend told the court.

He told the court the woman was “shaken up” and didn’t know how to handle the situation.

He is being represented by Bryan Wrench (left). Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian ShawSource: News Corp Australia

The first part of the hearing took place in October last year where body-worn footage was played to the court of the woman, who told police Mr Burgess tried to kiss her moments after handing over the charity item.

She offered him a cup of tea to “try to defuse the situation”.

“I opened the cupboard and he’s turned around (and) grabbed me on the bottom,” the woman told police.

“I froze on the inside and was just looking at the tea. He put a hand either side of my body and pressed right up against me. … I told him, ‘This is not going to happen’.”

In the footage, the woman told police Mr Burgess told her to take off her jumper as she was getting “hot”.

She told police he “leaned back … put his hand down his pants” before telling her he loved her “juicy a**e”.

“I said, ‘Nothing is going to happen’. He said, ‘Stay and be naughty with me’. He tried to kiss me again … I said, ‘I’m a good girl and this isn’t happening’. He had a chuckle,” the woman told police.

When the woman took to the witness stand last year, she told the court Mr Burgess left soon after.

She teared up telling the court the interaction left her “terrified, helpless and scared”.

“I was really uncomfortable. This was a six foot man, double my weight, that has encroached on my home. I was terrified … I didn’t know what could happen at this point,” the woman told the court.

His alleged victim broke down in court hearing her friend give evidence. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius PickardSource: News Corp Australia

She told the court she felt “violated” when Mr Burgess messaged her with a purple devil emoji after leaving.

When asked how the emoji made her feel, the woman told the court she felt “dirty, absolutely putrid”.

The court was told the woman had messaged Mr Burgess and his brothers about the charity event, before Mr Burgess responded to her on Snapchat.

The woman offered to collect the jersey from Wollongong, where Mr Burgess lives, but he told her he would bring it to her home in Sydney as he was going to be in the area.

Following the incident, the woman was encouraged by a friend to tell Mr Burgess “what he did was not okay”.

In the messages, Mr Burgess apologised for the alleged incident and according to police told the woman he was “truly sorry for hurting her feelings” and said it was “wrong”.

During the first part of the hearing Mr Burgess’ lawyer, Bryan Wrench, told the court the former NRL star did not contest going to the home for the jersey but was in “complete denial” that he grabbed her.

Mr Wrench told the court Snapchat messages, which automatically delete, were not recorded from before the incident and the pair had been “best friends” on the app.

In cross examination, Mr Wrench accused the woman of wanting to “bring down” Mr Burgess of using the matter as a “crusade” – claims she strongly rejected.

“No female has never stood up and said enough is enough … If you want to call women not being vilified and sexually assaulted a crusade, sure,” the woman told the court.

Mr Burgess, who played last season for the St George Illawarra Dragons, announced his retirement last year.

But he has announced he will return to play with the Cairns Brothers in the Cairns and District Rugby League competition.


Source link

Leave a comment