Former England Rugby League captain Sam Burgess has won an appeal to overturn his conviction for intimidating his former father-in-law in Australia.
Last month, a court ruled Mr. Burgess had intimidated Mitchell Hooke with the aim of causing physical or mental harm.
The charge associated with an alleged incident at Mr. Hooke’s range in 2019.
But an appeal court judge ruled that Mr. Burgess’s version of events should have been considered within the original verdict as a cause for reasonable doubt.
“This was a case of the word of Burgess against the word of Hooke,” Judge Mark Williams told a replacement South Wales court on Friday.
He quashed Mr. Burgess’s conviction and removed his penalty of a two-year good behavior bond.
The alleged row between the pair had happened during a visit by Mr. Burgess to his children after separating from his ex-wife, Phoebe Burgess.
The trial heard competing accounts, with Mr. Hooke alleging Mr. Burgess had said: “I’m getting to get you. You’ve set all of this up.”
Mr. Hooke testified he had felt “absolute terror” that his former son-in-law would hit him during the argument.
Mr. Burgess said that Mr. Hooke had threatened him by saying: “I’m getting to destroy you and your career.”
The former sportsman asserted that his father had been the aggressor.
Justice Williams ruled the first verdict had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mr. Burgess, one among Rugby League’s biggest stars, was forced to retire in 2019 due to injury.
He was forced to step down from his assistant coach position at the South Sydney Rabbitohs club last October after police began investigating other allegations against him.
The Australian newspaper reported that the National Rugby League (NRL) club had covered up alleged drug use and violence by Burgess. Burgess has strongly denied the allegations.
The former Bradford Bulls player first joined the Rabbitohs in 2010, rising to become their star player and captain over 182 NRL appearances for the club.
He played 24 matches for England and two for nice Britain.
Burgess also had a brief spell in Rugby Union and won five England caps.