Australian international Lopeti Timani is facing a suspended six-month sentence after he was charged with throwing a bottle in a brawl outside a La Rochelle nightclub in May last year. The 29-year-old back row, who won the last of his twelve Wallabies caps in November 2017, is being prosecuted in France for “violence with a weapon” – in this case a bottle.
According to a report in L’Equipe, after being kicked out of the nightclub in 2019 for nudging a security guard inside the establishment, La Rochelle forward Timani threw a bottle which hit another security guard in the face. This man and one of his colleagues then attacked the player, one of the two guards hitting him with a security barrier as well as punching and kicking.
At a hearing in France on Monday, Timani apologised, saying he was sorry for throwing the bottle. “I didn’t want to hurt someone. I threw it without looking over my shoulder,” he said, adding that he had deliberately not reacted when he was then attacked. “If I had fought, it would have been the end of my career” at La Rochelle, Timani explained.
A decision on the case is expected on 14 September.
Timani joined La Rochelle after five Super Rugby seasons with the Melbourne-based Rebels and two more with the Waratahs. He featured for La Rochelle in nine of their 17 matches in the cancelled 2019/20 French Top 14.
It was last December when Timami revealed he had been struggling with his mental health since being the victim of an attack by former Rebels teammate Amanaki Mafi in New Zealand.
In a statement released after he was awarded $50,000 reparation following an incident that took place in July 2018 following a defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin, Timani said: “I have been battling issues of PTSD, depression and anxiety following the incident which has taken its toll on me personally and professionally.
“Going through this drawn-out process has also caused irreparable damage to my professional reputation through incorrect reporting by the media and defamatory statements but I felt it was important to stand up to this type of behaviour and this person.”
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