Slap on the wrist for drunk driver Latu
NEWS UPDATE: Rugby Australia has opted to hand out a slap on the wrist for Wallabies and Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu.
Latu was formally served with a ‘breach notice’ for his drink-driving and driving whilst suspended offences on May 16.
Latu was sentenced in court last Friday, after pleading guilty to mid-range drink driving and driving whilst suspended.
He was dealt a three-month driving suspension for each offence, and fined a total of AU$1,300 for both offences.
He was also ordered to pay court costs and have an interlock device fitted to his car.
At the conclusion of the court proceedings, the Rugby Australia Integrity Unit determined that Latu had committed a mid-level breach of the Professional Player Code of Conduct and has issued a sanction that includes a four-match suspension and a fine of AU$5,000.
The four-match suspension will be deemed served after Latu misses his club side Sydney University’s Shute Shield clash with Eastwood this weekend, having previously missed three Super Rugby matches owing to a two-match stand down imposed by the Waratahs, and being required to attend at court for sentencing on the date of the team’s final match against the Highlanders on June 14.
The financial penalty took into account that Latu has already accumulated out-of-pocket expenses totalling approximately AU$7,000 as a result of the court proceedings.
Latu will also be required to participate in any counselling and/or alcohol education programs as deemed necessary by Rugby AU and/or the Waratahs for a period of 12 months.
Other factors were considered in arriving at the sanction, including Latu’s personal circumstances leading up to the event as well as his failure to disclose the incident to his employers before it became public via the media.
It was also acknowledged that Latu took responsibility for his conduct and made a public statement, accepting responsibility and appreciating the seriousness of the situation and the impact on his team and the sport and that he had pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity to the two criminal offences.
Latu has accepted the Rugby Australia Integrity Unit’s finding and sanction.