‘I couldn’t believe it’: Raiders boss Don Furner joins Rabbitohs in slamming ACT police over treatment of NRL stars

‘I couldn’t believe it’: Raiders boss Don Furner joins Rabbitohs in slamming ACT police over treatment of NRL stars

ACT police after charges against Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton were dropped on Wednesday.

Charges were dropped after the most senior police officer involved in Wighton and Mitchell’s arrest admitted to giving false evidence.

Mitchell had been charged with affray, fighting in a public place and resisting a territory official, while Wighton had been charged with fighting in a public place and failing to comply with an exclusion direction.

Furner unloaded on the police following the prosecution’s decision to drop charges, calling the case “an extraordinary waste of the court’s time and taxpayers money”.

This could have and should have been avoided,” Furner said.

“We wrote to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) a number of times to try to get meetings, to ask them why this was going to go ahead.

“I personally called Neil Gaughan, the head of ACT police … I went and saw him, I showed him the footage and I read him the police statement of facts and I said: ‘I can’t see how these marry, please tell me if I’m missing something’.

“I couldn’t believe it.

“Police falsified their statements to get a conviction against a high-profile NRL player.

“I don’t think that’s the last ACT police and the DPP will have heard of this.”

Furner’s furious reaction followed a statement from the Rabbitohs, who also condemned police over the excessive use of force against Mitchell.

“The South Sydney Rabbitohs welcome today’s dismissal of charges against players Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton in the ACT Magistrate’s Court regarding charges laid by ACT Police in February 2023,” the statement read.

“The charges against both players were dismissed following evidence presented to the court which confirmed neither player had conducted themselves in a manner pursuant to the charges which were laid.

“The club fully supports the comments of Latrell’s solicitor, Tom Taylor from Hugo Law Group, following the dismissal of the charges.

“At no stage did Jack Wighton engage in violent or aggressive conduct, and there was no need for police to use the level of force that Mr Mitchell endured.

These charges have also weighed heavily on both players over the past eight to nine months. They have shown great courage and resilience in fighting to prove the charges laid were false and unwarranted.”

Mitchell described the ordeal as a “traumatic experience” when speaking to reporters outside court.

“I hope everyone knows and understands the seriousness of what’s going on and (it was) a massive hit on the community,” he said.

“For the last 10 months it’s been very hard for not only myself but my family and what they’ve had to read and endure … (it’s a) traumatic experience that I’ve had of Canberra.”

Wighton, who played 242 games for the Canberra Raiders, is set to link up with Mitchell and the Rabbitohs from 2024, after signing a four-year deal with the club earlier this year

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