North Queensland Cowboys back-rower Luciano Leilua has appeared in court to fight a domestic violence charge, but the defence is still waiting on police to procure an admissible statement from the alleged victim, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Leilua was charged last week after allegedly assaulting a woman and smashing her phone at a home in Sydney's south-west on the afternoon of the public holiday Monday on October 3.
The back-rower has already been stood down under the NRL's no-fault stand-down policy and has lost his position in Samoa's squad for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup, but he has vowed to fight the charges and clear his name in a statement delivered by his lawyer during the week.
It's now been revealed by Leilua's lawyer Elias Tabchouri that the alleged victim has not made a statement in an admissible form to be used as evidence in the proceedings, creating a delay in the case's progress.
“(Leilua's) career has been placed on hold,” Tabchouri told Campbelltown Local Court.
Leilua's lawyer advised that he had made “urgent representations” to NSW Police to file an admissible statement as soon as possible.
The case will be mentioned again next Tuesday as the defence awaits the admissible statement, but Leilua has been advised that he is not required to attend as long as he is represented legally.
Should the case result in a contested hearing before a magistrate, the court was told it would not occur before May 2023, which means it could impact Leilua's availability to start the opening two months of the next NRL season, even though he can return to training with the rest of his teammates in November.
“The discretionary no-fault stand-down condition has been applied in this instance as the criminal charges involve allegations that the player has acted violently in relation to a female,” the NRL advised last week.