NRL star Latrell Mitchell has pleaded guilty to a firearms charge after being fined over a raucous group camping trip to a regional farm.
The Rabbitohs player, 23, was given a $50,000 fine by the NRL after photos emerged of him and nearly a dozen others around a camp fire, motor-cross riding and shooting at Mitchell’s farm near Taree on the New South Wales mid-north coast in April.
The activities clearly violated COVID-19 restrictions and Melbourne Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr was also fined $50,000 after pictures emerged of him motorbiking at the beach.
Addo-Carr was charged with using an unauthorised firearm on the same trip, while Mitchell faced one charge of giving a firearm to a person who did not have a licence or permit.
On Tuesday, a guilty plea was entered at Taree Local Court by Mitchell’s lawyer.
The footy star had been charged after going to Taree Police Station on April 28 to surrender his firearms and gun licence.
The case has been adjourned to November 9 for sentencing, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Magistrate Greg Elks noted both men were ‘tied up’ with the NRL season and being confined to their team bubble.
Addo-Carr’s lawyers requested they be given more time to consider their client’s case.
Mitchell was slapped with the hefty fine – $30,000 of which was suspended – and a breach notice after the photos of Mitchell and several men, including Addo-Carr, surfaced on social media.
But Mitchell argues he was also penalized for being at the beach despite claiming he wasn’t there, The Daily Telegraph reported in May.
The 22-year-old also contends he did not breach coronavirus restrictions because he was at work on his 222ha cattle farm.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs also launched their own appeal after they were fined $20,000 by the NRL over an incident with Cody Walker.
Walker, who was filmed kicking a man during a melee, was handed a two-game suspension and a suspended $15,000 fine.
The Rabbitohs were issued a $20,000 breach notice for failing to alert the NRL’s Integrity Unit about the December 2019 incident.
Mitchell’s manager Matt Rose said: ‘I can confirm we are appealing the NRL’s breach notice and fine imposed on Latrell because of inaccurate information used to the impose the sanction.
‘We are simply trying to clear up some untruths that have been circulating on this matter since it became public.’
Mitchell bought the cattle farm earlier in the year and set up an ABN to run as a business.
When the coronavirus rules came into effect and the NRL season was put on hold, it’s understood Mitchell went to Taree so he could get to work as a farmer.
His partner Brielle had already planned to give birth to the couple’s second child in Taree to be near Mitchell’s parents. Their daughter Aleena was born in April.