England rugby star Danny Cipriani ‘let himself down’ during police fracas
The player grappled with police and injured a female officer outside a bar on Jersey.
England rugby star Danny Cipriani “let himself, his family and his club down” when he resisted arrest outside a Jersey bar, a court has heard.
The 30-year-old grappled with police, injuring a female officer, as they tried to detain him following a row with a doorman at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier early on Wednesday.
The policewoman suffered bruising after Cipriani tried to break free from his handcuffs.
He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £250 compensation at Jersey Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to resisting arrest and common assault.
Mike Preston, defending, said: “He has suffered extreme embarrassment and knows he has let himself, his family and his club down. The (Gloucester RFC) club captain is here to support him.”
Prosecutor Samantha Morris said the incident started when the doorman stopped Cipriani from walking out of the bar with two drinks.
The doorman called police after the fly-half became “physically aggressive”.
She said he “refused to understand why he was being arrested” and “tensed up”, refusing to put his arms behind his back.
He had one hand in a handcuff but broke his other arm free, pushed towards the female officer and grabbed hold of her shirt, the court heard.
The policewoman sustained bruising to her right bicep and reddening to her chest, Miss Morris said.
Cipriani, who spoke quietly when asked to confirm his name and age in court, spent two nights in police cells following his arrest.
Miss Morris described to the court how he turned on the bouncer and tore off his tie.
She said: “He was physically aggressive towards the doorman, so the doorman activated his bodyworn camera.”
This enraged Cipriani and he grabbed hold of the doorman’s tie, pulling it off along with the bodyworn camera which was clipped to it, then walked away.
The doorman told the female officer he wanted to make a formal complaint of assault and she went to arrest Cipriani outside the nearby Pomme d’Or Hotel.
He was eventually restrained by other officers who arrived on the scene but was still struggling when put in the police van.
Mr Preston said Cipriani was a “well-known sportsman” and had been on a night out with Gloucester RFC staff.
“He candidly admits he had too much to drink,” the lawyer told the court.
He said when Cipriani took the drinks outside he thought he was taking them into an outside drinking area and did not realise he was leaving the premises.
“The bouncer prevented him from leaving. He took exception to the doorman’s attitude and particularly when the doorman activated his bodyworn camera,” he said.
“He is more sensitive to such actions given his celebrity than you or I might be.”
Mr Preston said that when Cipriani was approached outside the Pomme d’Or by police he was ”confused as to why he was immediately arrested and why he was being handcuffed”.
The lawyer said a crowd had gathered and Cipriani accepted that he struggled.
“’He is very sorry for his behaviour, which lasted a few seconds,” he said.
Mr Preston said that offence “was at the lower end of the scale of culpability”, adding: “He has pleaded guilty on first appearance and has no relevant previous convictions.”
Sentencing Cipriani, magistrate Sarah Fitz said the police do a difficult job and must be protected.
She added: “This is one incident that started off in a minor way. You have pleaded guilty on this first occasion and it can be dealt with by way of a fine.”
Cipriani, wearing an open-necked checked shirt, kept his head down as he emerged from court.
He ignored reporters’ questions before getting into a waiting car.
Gloucester Rugby chief executive Stephen Vaughan described the incident as “very disappointing to be associated with” but said the club was standing by the player.
He said: “The incident in question was over in a matter of seconds and was a reaction to the conduct of other parties involved.”
He said Cipriani “knows his responsibilities and is aware of the impact of this type of incident on the club”.
“However, Danny is a Gloucester Rugby player and will receive our full support as we focus on the exciting season ahead.”
Cipriani was on the island with his club during a pre-season tour, including a training session with the Jersey Reds team.
He was originally also charged with larceny and being disorderly on licensed premises, but those charges were dropped.
The incident happened hours after England cricketer Ben Stokes was cleared of affray following a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub.
The 27-year-old was recalled to England’s Test squad after he was acquitted by a jury on Tuesday.
Cipriani has been in trouble before. He was convicted of drink-driving after he crashed his black Mercedes into a taxi in London on June 1 2015.
He was ordered to pay £7,620 in fines and costs and banned from driving for 18 months.
In 2013, he was treated in hospital after being hit by a bus during a night out in Leeds.