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Rugby league star admits railway station assault.

WIGAN rugby league prop Iafeta Paleaaesina yesterday pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on a bus driver.

James Campbell was left with a broken jaw from a punch after an incident at Wigan North Western railway station on October 6 last year.

A trial had been expected to start yesterday when 17-stone Paleaaesina, who plays for Wigan Warriors, changed his plea at Liverpool Crown Court.

The court also heard that after initially making a statement, Mr Campbell wanted to retract his complaint against Paleaaesina on December 1.

Speaking about Campbell's change of heart, Paul Becker, defending Paleaaesina, said: "He (Campbell) concluded he was drunk at the time and may have appeared threatening or abusive.

"There clearly was a degree of provocation in this case which caused Mr Paleaaesina to behave in the way he did."

Mr Becker also said the prosecution had CCTV evidence of the incident.

The assault took place at 5.20am on Saturday October 6, in the car park of the railway station and just hours after Wigan were knocked out of the Super League play-offs by Leeds.

Paleaaesina, of Holmeswood Road, Rufford, Lancashire, had played in the game, which shattered his side's hopes of reaching the final of the competition.

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report.

Paleaaesina will appear for sentencing on June 16 at Liverpool Crown Court.

Speaking outside court, 26-year-old Paleaaesina said: "Obviously I pleaded guilty today. It was one of those things I regret and I am truly sorry for what I have done.

"I want to thank the club and especially the fans for their support. They have supported me from day one.

"I just want to put it behind me and continue playing rugby."


Iafeta Paleaaesina
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 20, 2008
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