Scotland convicted over pub bashing

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 22 Februari 2013 | 12.50

Carlton veteran Heath Scotland has been convicted over a pub bashing. Picture: George Salpigtidis Source: Herald Sun

CARLTON will take no further action against Heath Scotland following his conviction over a wild pub brawl that saw him king-hit a patron in the face, leaving him unconscious.

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions today successfully appealed the sentence handed to Scotland, 32, who escaped conviction after pleading guilty last October to his role in the pub melee.

"Heath accepts the decision that was made in court today," Carlton football manager Andrew McKay said in a statement released this afternoon.

"The club has already imposed its own sanctions which will not change and we all look forward to putting this matter behind us."

The reigning best and fairest winner was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond for his king-hit, despite facing a maximum penalty of two years' jail.

But District Court Judge Paul Lakatos said the Magistrate presiding over the original hearing had ruled on an incorrect basis.

Namely he said it was wrong that Scotland was considered to be of "good character" despite a 2005 incident that saw him assault a woman at Crown Casino.

"I consider that material says something about the character, or lack of good character, of (Mr Scotland)," he said.

"The offence is one of such seriousness a (non-conviction) is not appropriate.

"This is not the first time he comes before the courts on assault matters," he said.

In 2005, Scotland, then aged 25, faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court charged with assault and recklessly causing injury over an altercation at Next Blue in the Crown casino complex.

The court heard Scotland and Sarah Bos argued before he started flicking his drink on her clothes and in her face.

Ms Bos pushed Scotland away and he allegedly hit her with an open hand to the right side of the face.

The court heard security ejected Scotland but he later returned and had to be thrown out again after getting into another argument with Ms Bos.

Scotland was placed on a court diversion program, at the conclusion of which no conviction or guilty plea is recorded.

Judge Latakos said a similar system did not apply in NSW.

But because of the program, NSW police were not able to submit evidence of prior criminal history because Victorian records show there is none for Scotland.

But Judge Latakos today allowed prosecutors to submit Victoria Police LEAP records detailing the incident.

He said despite the non-conviction the assault had to be considered in relation to today's appeal.

He said it was inappropriate for Scotland to be dealt with as a "clean skin".

Last year, Scotland's lawyer argued that a conviction would jeopardise the club's reigning best and fairest winner's dream of becoming a firefighter after his football career ends.

It was the second time Scotland had used the firefighter defence after using it during hearings for the 2005 hearings.

But in a letter tendered to the court today MFB Nick Easy said even if Scotland avoided a conviction he would be ineligible to join the brigade for at last 10 years.

Scotland was today convicted and placed on a 12 month good behaviour bond.

He was previously fined $3000 and suspended for two games by Carlton.

Three other men - including Scotland's brother Brett - were convicted and fined over the Mulwala incident.

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