Cipriani pleads guilty to common assault, fined £2,000

England’s Danny Cipriani at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Britain. (Reuters pic)

LONDON: England rugby player Danny Cipriani pleaded guilty on Thursday to common assault and resisting arrest after an incident at a nightclub on Jersey which left a female police officer bruised.

The 30-year-old was fined a total of 2,000 pounds (US$2,541) — 1,500 for resisting arrest and 500 for assault — and ordered to pay 250 pounds in compensation to the officer when he appeared at Jersey Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The mercurial international, whose England future after another episode in a career marked by controversy and ill-discipline could now be in doubt, was said by his defence lawyer to be “mortified” by what had happened.

Cipriani had been arrested early on Wednesday morning in St Helier, Jersey, while on the island for pre-season preparations with his English club side Gloucester.

The prosecution said the incident happened at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier when Cipriani became verbally and physically abusive to a doorman who had tried to stop him taking his drinks outside.

When the doorman activated a body camera he was wearing, Cipriani became more aggressive and tried to pull it off him, leading the doorman to call the police, the court heard.

When Cipriani then tried to resist arrest by the police officer and one of her colleagues, he pushed her in the chest area and held on to her collar and shirt before he was finally restrained and taken to the police station.

The court also heard she sustained bruising to her right bicep and neck in the incident.

Cipriani accepted he did take hold of the officer’s collar and admitted he was “mortified” if he harmed her in any way, said defence lawyer Mike Preston.

“He is very sorry for his behaviour. He knows he let himself, his family and his club down,” Preston added.

Cipriani returned to the England squad earlier this year, having made his first Test start for 10 years against South Africa in Cape Town in June.

He had joined Gloucester at the end of last season from Premiership rivals Wasps and was looking forward to a rejuvenated career at both club and international level.

But he had been warned by England coach Eddie Jones over his conduct following a number of off-field issues during his career.

They included a training-ground fight with a Wasps teammate and a nightclub incident while playing for Australia’s Melbourne Rebels in 2011. Cipriani was also hit by a bus on a night out with Sale teammates in 2013.

Gloucester had said on Wednesday that they were aware of an incident involving Cipriani and would make “a further announcement in due course.”