Sam Burgess’s lawyer Phillip Boulten told Moss Vale Local Court on Friday that the former England captain’s ex-wife and her father are out to deliberately destroy his career.
South Sydney legend Burgess, 32, has denied threatening ex-father-in-law and mining millionaire Mitch Hooke during an alleged 2019 altercation, as he continues to fight one charge each of intimidation and assault.
Mr Boulten told the court that serious allegations were levelled against Mr Burgess ahead of the hearing date in a deliberate attempt to ‘damage’ his clients reputation.
Ex-wife Phoebe Burgess admitted to the court in November she provided The Australian newspaper with a detailed affidavit telling of Sam’s alleged drug use and domestic violence – with Mr Burgess stepping down from all coaching and broadcasting roles shortly afterwards.
“Mitch Hooke and Phoebe Burgess have tried to destroy my client’s career, this case is part of it, and it won’t stop here,” Mr Boulten said in court on Friday morning.
In the witness box Mr Burgess explained how Mr Hooke told him, “I’m going to make sure I ruin your career if it’s the last thing I do.”
Mr Burgess’s pre-arranged visit to the property of Mr Hooke took a wrong turn when Phoebe asked Sam to leave via text message: “Can you head off… I’m not up to seeing you today.”
Sam responded: “There’s nobody in the house. Would you like me to just leave the kids in the living room? I’m not leaving the children with your dad.”
His refusal to leave prompted Mr Hooke to get involved, however Mr Burgess described the incident as a ‘little argument’ with the pair ‘five or six metres’ apart.
Mr Burgess said the argument kicked off as he began walking to his car, telling Mr Hooke: “Mitch, I think you are a bad person inside and out and that’s why Phoebe is the way she is.”
He said a verbal exchange followed before Mr Hooke told him: “Sam, nobody loves you. Your own family doesn’t love you. We love you and you’re throwing it all away.”
The argument ended when Phoebe’s sister Harriet Hooke “ushered” her father inside, with Mr Burgess admitting he had four beers before the visit but that he was sober when he arrived.
Police prosecutor Jamie Palmer argued that Mr Burgess blamed Mr Hooke for his failed marriage and was standing over Mr Hooke, leaving the 64-year-old “shaken”.
A judgment will be handed down in two weeks on February 5.