Former St Helens star Ben Barba sentenced to community service after guilty plea

Ben Barba. Picture: SWPix
Ben Barba. Picture: SWPix
Share this article

Reigning Man of Steel Ben Barba has been sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid community service in his native Australia after pleading guilty to public nuisance.

The 29-year-old former St Helens full-back, who was top try scorer in his only full season in Super League in 2018, had his hopes of resuming his NRL career with North Queensland Cowboys dashed following the incident at a casino in Townsville in January.

The Mackay Magistrates Court was told on Tuesday that Barba grabbed his partner of 16 years by the throat, pinned her against a wall and knocked her to the ground.

The court also heard he used a shoe to hit her in the head but she did not press charges so he avoided an assault charge.

The former Cronulla player, who won the Dally M Medal in 2012, pleaded guilty to two counts of public nuisance, as well as obstructing police in an unrelated incident at his parent's home in East Mackay earlier this month.

In sentencing Barba, acting magistrate John Smith said he acknowledged the footballer had lost millions of dollars in earnings after being banned from playing over the incident.

"You have suffered one enormous penalty as a result of this. You have the loss of a sport, and lost millions in prospective employment," Smith said.

Barba, whose contract with Cronulla was terminated in 2012 after he tested positive for cocaine, was sacked by the Cowboys without playing a game for them and banned from the NRL, a suspension which also rules out a return to Super League.