Breaking: Ben Cousins sentenced to year in jail

Ben Cousins.
Ben Cousins.

TROUBLED AFL premiership player Ben Cousins has been jailed for one year and fined $2400 over stalking and drug offences.

Cousins was sentenced in Perth Magistrates Court today, having previously pleaded guilty to 11 offences, including aggravated stalking, breaching a violence restraining order and drug possession.

When the former West Coast captain was arrested, police found eight grams of meth in his possession, which his lawyer Michael Tudori told the court would only last him four days.

The VRO was taken out by his former partner Maylea Tinecheff, with whom he has two children, aged three and five.

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The court heard the VRO breaches related to Cousins, 38, visiting the children’s school and church, and making repeated phone calls to his former partner.

Cousins called Ms Tinecheff 371 times in February before his arrest, including 50 times in one day.

In November, he contacted her 542 times, including 103 times in one day.

Bryan and Stephanie Cousins leave the Perth Magistrates Court yesterday. Photo: AAP

The police prosecutor said Ms Tinecheff feared for her safety and that of her children because Cousins was unpredictable when under the influence of drugs.

Cousins, who was supported in court by his father, looked calm, had a full beard and was wearing the same T-shirt he had worn the previous day to court.

Mr Tudori said the Brownlow medallist had “hit rock bottom” with his heavy drug usage, which caused psychosis.

“It’s the root of all his problems,” he said.

Mr Tudori said while Cousins had been reluctant to address his drug addiction, his five weeks in prison had changed him.

“The ultimate master of his own destiny is himself,” he said.

“No one can force him, but he’s at the stage where he accepts that he needs to grab the hand of help.

“The community’s far better if he does take that help because what’s the other alternative?

“He needs intensive therapy.”

Mr Tudori said the residential rehab program Cousins wanted to be part of could last six to 12 months, and would include urinalysis and counselling.

He also said Cousins had not worked properly since the end of his football career and had been living off his savings.

But magistrate Richard Huston said Cousins’ criminal behaviour was “persistent, sustained and intended”.

“The outcome today must include imprisonment,” he said.

Mr Huston said Cousins had caused ongoing terror and misery to the victim.

“Anxiety, fear and worry is an injury,” he said.

Cousins will be eligible for parole within months and will also have his driver’s licence suspended for an additional nine months.