Top 14 - Digby Ioane avoids conviction for assault

Former Australia winger Digby Ioane has avoided conviction over an assault charge in an incident at a Melbourne bar when he was in the city with the Queensland Reds in March, local media reported on Thursday.

Reuters
Top 14 - Digby Ioane avoids conviction for assault
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Digby Ioane of Australia and Stade Francais (PA Sport)

The 28-year-old, who is undergoing rehabilitation after sustaining a shoulder injury in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions in June, was involved in a scuffle over a mobile phone.

Ioane missed his first court date in June and a warrant was issued for his arrest in an unwelcome distraction for the Wallabies in the run-up to the second Lions Test.

On Thursday, though, a Melbourne court put Ioane on a diversion program and ordered him to re-appear in October to ensure he has complied with the conditions of the program, the Australian Associated Press reported.

The diversion program allows first-time offenders to acknowledge responsibility and be released without conviction.

"NOT GUILTY," Ioane said on his official twitter account. "Told you. God had my back. #blessed"

Ioane will join Stade Francais in October after signing a lucrative two-year deal with the French Top 14 club in May, a move which is likely to bring an end to his 35-cap Test career.

A number of Wallabies backs have had brushes with the law in recent years, with Kurtley Beale charged with assault after a scuffle with security staff outside a Brisbane bar last year while out with Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper.

The charge against Beale was withdrawn this year when the parties settled the matter out of court.

Cooper was arrested and charged with burglary over the alleged theft of laptops from a private residence in Australia's Gold Coast in 2009. The charges were dropped the following year following mediation.

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