NRL Rd 23 - Cowboys v Warriors
TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Luciano Leilua of the Cowboys celebrates after scoring a try during the round 23 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the New Zealand Warriors at Qld Country Bank Stadium, on August 19, 2022, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

North Queensland Cowboys star second-rower Luciano Leilua has become engaged to his partner, despite a current alleged domestic violence incident.

Leilua proposed to his partner in France while the Rugby League World Cup was on, where he proposed.

The second-rower had originally be named in Samoa's squad for the World Cup, but was left out of the travelling party after being stood down by the NRL's no-fault stand-down policy for the alleged incident against his partner.

"The National Rugby League (NRL) is aware that New South Wales Police have charged Luciano Leilua with common assault (domestic violence related) and intentionally or recklessly destroy/damage property (domestic violence related) following an alleged incident on Monday 3 October 2022," the NRL said in a statement during October.

"The NRL has advised the North Queensland Cowboys that Luciano Leilua is subject to a No-Fault Stand Down condition under the NRL Rules.

"The decision should in no way be interpreted as a view on the innocence or guilt of the player.

"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."

News Corp are now reporting that not only does Leilua's partner not want the charges to proceed, but that the case has been pushed back to May 18.

That means that, without the stand-down policy being overturned, the alleged incident could see Leilua not able to return until either Round 12 (May 20 vs Wests Tigers at Leichhardt) or Round 13 (May 26 vs Parramatta Eels at Parramatta).

“His partner (Dora) has made it clear she doesn't want to go ahead with it,” Leilua's lawyer Elias Tabchouri told the publication.

“Everyone accepts domestic violence is very serious and everyone accepts the stance taken by the NRL is fine in certain circumstances.

“However there has to be discretion attached as well. You can't have a mandatory, blanket approach.

“That discretion has to be regulated by a number of factors including (Covid-related) delays that are outside the normal delays for the adjudication of matters, the attitude of the complainant, the non-criminal history of the player and the fact he is denying the charges.

“Where is the presumption of innocence in all this?”

Leilua, as with other players who have been subjected to the NRL's no-fault stand-down rule, will be allowed to continue training with his team while the policy is in effect.


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