- The Raiders CEO was taken aback by the Director of Public Prosecutions’ request
- It later emerged that ACT Police Officer Sargeant David Power provided false evidence
- Wighton and fellow NRL player Latrell Mitchell were cleared of all charges
Seething Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner has revealed the extraordinary demand from the ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for NRL star Jack Wighton to make a public apology following his arrest alongside Latrell Mitchell outside a nightclub in February.
Both Wighton and Mitchell saw all charges dropped in the ACT Magistrates Court earlier this week, 24 hours after a senior police officer involved in their arrests admitted making false statements in court.
The high-profile pair, who are distant cousins and will be teammates at the South Sydney Rabbitohs next season, were released after Sergeant David Power – the supervisor of a group of officers involved in the alleged incident – gave his version of the case The question admitted to the events of the evening was inaccurate.
Sergeant Power also told the court he had a “memory problem” before denying he had “made up” evidence.
The sergeant later apologized to Wighton in court.
Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner has revealed that the ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is calling on Jack Wighton to publicly apologize following his arrest alongside Latrell Mitchell in February
Wighton and Mitchell saw all charges dropped in the ACT Magistrates Court earlier this week after a senior police officer involved in their arrests admitted providing false evidence
And now an angry Furner has told it Sydney Morning Herald how the DPP in the country’s capital urged Wighton to publicly admit his alleged wrongdoing long before the court date.
A letter was sent to Furner back in June which stated: “The prosecution believes that there is a reasonable prospect of success in this matter and that prosecuting your client is in the public interest.” [Wighton] keep going.
“Should your client agree to plead guilty to both charges and publicly apologize to both the responding police and the community for his alleged conduct, the prosecution would not argue against the claim that your client was remorseful and that he some of which should be submitted for leniency by the court in punishment.
“Of course, your client could also ask the sentencing court for leniency on the grounds that he did not request that the matter proceed to a full hearing, thereby saving court time and public resources.”
After watching the vision of the alleged incident, Furner concluded the players had done nothing wrong – and believes both football stars now have every right to sue the ACT Police.
“We went to the police and the DPP several times and demanded a reasonable explanation as to why they were picked up from a nightclub and arrested in the first place and why the matter was brought before the court,” Furner said.
“We wanted to know if something happened outside of the camera.” We take player misconduct seriously and wanted to get to the bottom of the matter.
The pair are pictured together on the night of their alleged argument in February, which led to both men being arrested
“When we heard back…” I showed this letter to our board and several attorneys we knew, and they had never seen a request like this before.
“The police and the DPP have had several chances to save money and embarrassment. But their arrogance and the dishonesty of the ACT Police were their undoing.”
Furner added that NRL stars “don’t ask for special treatment” and deserve to be “treated like normal members of the public”.
“But marching Jack up a flight of stairs with his hands behind his back, pinning him against a wall and for absolutely nothing… that was an easy narrative for her that night,” he said.
“I’m actually so glad they were found out in such a spectacular way.”