Raiders star was ‘placed in headlock and punched in ribs’ by police for ‘no reason’, Court is told

Canberra Raiders hooker Tom Starling was placed in a headlock and then punched in the ribs by a police officer after being apprehended during a mass brawl, a Sydney Court has heard. 

Starling, aged 23, and his brothers faced the court over their alleged roles in a brawl that took place at a Sydney hotel in December 2020, fighting those allegations.

Fox News Australia reports that: “Tom and Jackson (one of Starling’s brothers) have “pleaded not guilty to resisting police in the execution of their duty.

“Their brother Josh has denied three counts of resisting police and one charge of common assault.”

CCTV footage was shown to the court and highlights the Raiders star being repeatedly punched in the face by a riot officer as a melee ensued around them.

The court was then told that Starling, having fallen backwards, was then restrained via a headlock as another officer punched him in the ribs.

Seeing this act prompted brother Josh to kick out at the officer, Senior Constable Daniel Drew, hence his additional charge of common assault.

Shockingly though the court heard that Constable Drew had admitted “no reason to punch” the 23-year-old hooker, who has made 60 appearances for the Raiders.

Magistrate Daniel Covington cited the officer as “clearly inconsistent with his duty” but despite this no officers have been charged.

An internal police investigation has been triggered but the hearing continues without a single officer being reprimanded as yet, either in court or internally.

It’s unknown what bearing the sentence may have on Starling’s career but he did play every game for Canberra in 2022 and would hope to kick on and make the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

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