Various: Six of Canberra raider charges dropped

Tele: Central Coast Express Advocate: Canberra raider Tom Starling: Six charges dropped over argument with police at Kincumber

Six out of seven charges against Canberra Raiders hooker Tom Starling have been dropped after the drunken scuffle at a Kincumber restaurant.

The majority of charges against Canberra Raider hooker Tom Starling have been dropped following the late night drunken scuffle that broke out with police at a Kincumber restaurant last year.

Starling pleaded not guilty to one charge of resist/hinder police at Gosford Local Court on Thursday.

The 22-year-old and his brothers Josh and Jackson, who were also allegedly involved in the scuffle at Shady Palms restaurant on December 5, were all excused for their first appearances due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Avoca Beach brothers’ criminal lawyer Samar Singh-Panwar entered pleas of not guilty on their behalf.

Five charges of assault an officer as well as one charge of affray were dropped against Tom Starling. His resist/hinder charge sheet stated that between 10.55pm and 11pm on December 5 Starling hindered four NSW police officers including three males and one female.

Mr Singh-Panwar also made a successful application for bail to be dispensed for the three brothers.

The trio were out with friends celebrating the 21st birthday of the brother of Newcastle player Connor Watson with a group that included Kalyn Ponga and other NRL identities on the night of December 5.

Police were called to the restaurant to deal with another matter when an argument broke out with a patron that refused to leave the premises. Police will allege the Starling brothers and co-accused Jesse Byrne became aggressive.

Police called for assistance from the Public Order and Riot Squad before taking all four men to Gosford Police Station.

Soon after his arrest, images of Tom Starling revealing his face covered in cuts and bruises emerged on social media.

His younger brother Josh Starling, 19, had three charges withdrawn and pleaded not guilty to common assault, resist an officer in execution of duty and assault an officer in execution of duty.

Older brother Jackson Starling had two charges od assault officer and affray dropped and pleaded not guilty to one charge of resist/hinder police.

Byrne, 20, had three charges dropped however did not enter pleas to charges of assault officer in the execution of duty and resist/hinder police.

His defence stated they were yet to view CCTV footage of the incident.

The Starling brothers matter will be mentioned again at Gosford Local Court on March 11, however they have been excused from appearing. Byrne’s matter will be back in court on February 4.

SMH: Raiders star Tom Starling victim of ‘brutal assault’ by police, claims lawyer

Tom Starling’s lawyer has slammed officers who allegedly punched and elbowed the Raiders star in the face during a brawl on the NSW Central Coast, claiming the incident was a “brutal assault” by police.

Starling’s case was in Gosford Local Court on Thursday, where six out of the seven charges laid against him were dropped by police.

Starling had been initially charged with five counts of assaulting a police officer in the execution of their duty, one count of affray and one of resisting or hindering an officer following a brawl at the Shady Palms restaurant in Kincumber on December 5.

Rising Canberra Raiders NRL star Tom Starling has been charged with assaulting police during a brawl outside a bar on the NSW Central Coast.

In court on Thursday, Starling’s lawyer, Samar Singh-Panwar, entered a plea of not guilty to hindering police.

Following the court proceedings, Singh-Panwar told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age the CCTV footage from the restaurant showed Starling being punched and elbowed to the face by police while restrained.

Shortly after the incident, pictures emerged of Starling with a bloodied face, which required medical treatment from Gosford Hospital.

“The essential part of the defence case is what we consider a brutal assault by police,” he said.

“I can only speculate that they [the police] simply didn’t consider any of the evidence before laying charges; in particular, they didn’t view the CCTV footage or they were not aware it existed during the time of laying charges.

“There was no justification given for the original charges.”

Singh-Panwar said he believes the officers involved will be subject to an official investigation as a result.

“I have no doubt that his reputation has been affected as a result of the original charges, and he’s deserving of that reputation being reinstated out of the police, now that the police accept that there’s essentially no evidence to support any of those allegations,” he said.

After the original charges were laid in December, sources close to Starling told the Herald the Raiders star became involved in the brawl to assist his brother after a bouncer made a comment to his mother.

It was subsequently reported the Raiders hooker reached for a gun of one of the officers but Starling vehemently denied the allegation.

“The families were understandably upset that these charges were laid when there was no foundation for them,” Singh-Panwar said.

“He has never accepted that he was involved in any wrongdoing, in particular, he denies that he ever assaulted police arrest or reached for a firearm and was involved in any unlawful violence.”

Starling and his brother were at the venue celebrating the birthday of the brother of Newcastle player Connor Watson, with Kalyn Ponga and Jack Johns also in attendance.

Shortly after the incident, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart came out in defence of his player, saying he would have been more disappointed in Starling if he hadn’t intervened.

“His version of events is a lot different than what’s been publicly stated,” Stuart said at the time.

The case will return to court in March where the CCTV will be used by his lawyer in an attempt to have the seventh charge dropped.

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