Former Toulon player Ben Barba says he has “never felt so free” as he faces two public nuisance charges.
The 29-year-old faced Townsville Magistrates Court on Friday where his lawyer requested the case be transferred to Mackay on April 16 for a plea date, with Barba expected to plead guilty.
Barba’s lawyer, Campbell MacCallum, said the adjournment would give his client enough time to gather material for sentencing submissions next month.
Walking from court, Barba said he had left playing in the NRL behind him and was looking forward to getting on with his life in central Queensland.
“I’ve obviously copped what I’ve got,” Barba told media as he walked from court on Friday.
“The only way I can do now is move forward and get on with my life and obviously be a regular human being and enjoy my job.”
“As I’ve said, as bad as the situation is, I’ve never felt so free that I can sort of get on with my life without the pressure of footy.”
He suggested he was on good terms with his partner and explained he lost his temper at a television reporter when he was filmed yelling “I will hurt you” last week because he was protective of his children.
“I try to keep them (his children) away from it (attention) as much as possible. I lost my cool there a couple of days ago when people were following me around,” Barba said.
“I’ll do anything for my kids, so I probably acted in the wrong way, but that’s the lengths I’ll go to to protect my children.”
Barba was charged with two counts of public nuisance following an incident at a Townsville casino on the Australia Day weekend.
He was sacked by the North Queensland Cowboys in February without playing a game for the club over allegations he was violent towards his partner Ainslie Currie. He was later deregistered by the NRL.
The 2012 Dally M medallist was charged a day after telling a televi sion news crew he had “lost everything” and was getting ready to hand himself in to police over the allegations.
He reportedly will not face domestic violence-related charges because Ms Currie had not made a complaint to police.
Barba had been offered a lifeline to return to the NRL with the Cowboys after stints with French rugby union and the English Super League.
The NRL gave Barba a lifetime ban after viewing CCTV footage of the incident outside the casino.
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