Footballer `king hit'

Wednesday, May 29
Geelong Advertiser

A RICHMOND footballer who allegedly headbutted a policeman during a New Year's Eve brawl at Queenscliff was violently bashed minutes earlier, a court has heard.

Andrew Mills, 20, of High Street, Prahran, was concussed and acted out of character, defence counsel Sean Grant told Geelong Magistrates' Court yesterday.

Mills, who played eight senior games in 2000-2001, is charged with two counts of unlawful assault and one of offensive behaviour. He has not entered a plea, but has apologised in writing to the policeman involved.

The matter was yesterday adjourned for four weeks while Magistrate Ian von Einem considers Mills' suitability for a criminal justice diversion program.

The program provides first-time offenders with an opportunity to avoid a criminal record and find suitable rehabilitation.

The footballer appeared in court with his mother and father who travelled from Euroa.

The court heard he had been drinking at the Esplanade Hotel in Queenscliff on New Year's Eve when a verbal dispute developed about 10pm over comments another male made about his girlfriend.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Anne McKeon said Mr Mills was assaulted by an unknown male as he left the hotel about 2.10am.

When police arrived a short time later they saw him throwing punches with both hands.

Sen-Constable McKeon said an `aggressive and agitated' Mr Mills spat in one officer's face and then headbutted him when they tried to pacify him.

When interviewed by police several days later he had little recollection of the incident because he had been drinking.

Mr Grant said his client suffered black eyes and facial injuries in the attack and was even aggressive towards a friend who tried to help him afterwards.

``He was king hit and set upon by two people as he left the hotel,'' he said.

``He was badly beaten and concussed.''

In a letter to the policemen Mr Mills said: ``I apologise for any hurt, inconvenience or discomfort I caused you.''

Mr Grant told the court his client would join an alcohol awareness program to be run by the Richmond Football Club.