AFL legend Nicky Winmar has pleaded guilty to assaulting a Melbourne taxi driver and being drunk in public place.
The 53-year-old faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, pleading guilty to repeatedly assaulting the driver following a match between St Kilda and Essendon at Docklands on March 30 after refusing to pay his fare up front.
Winmar’s lawyer Sam Norton said his client would admit to charges of recklessly causing injury and being drunk in a public place.
Winmar and his partner Elizabeth got into an argument with the driver which quickly became physical.
The men pushed each other, which led Winmar to hit and kick his victim several times.
Winmar smelled of alcohol when found by police and continued to abuse the driver saying “you’re a f***ing idiot,” while being restrained.
The driver was taken to hospital with a split lip and bruising and swelling to his cheek and ribs. He was unable to work for several weeks.
Mr Norton described his client as an “extraordinary man”, requesting footage of the incident be shown to the magistrate who adjourned the matter to later on Thursday.
“He has made enormous contributions in a number of ways,” Mr Norton said of Winmar’s sporting and community achievements.
The AFL great, who played 251 games for St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, witnessed numerous instances of domestic and alcohol abuse as a child, he said.
The former footballer’s original court date had been moved so he could attend a statue unveiling in Perth in July.
The 2.75m likeness at Optus Stadium recreates the moment Winmar lifted up his jumper and pointed to his skin after copping racist abuse from Collingwood fans at their Victoria Park home in 1993.