NRL star Curtis Scott has been found guilty of assaulting and threatening former partner Tay-Leiha Clark during their roughly two-year relationship.
On Friday, magistrate Daniel Covington ruled Scott had pushed Ms Clark during an altercation at her parents’ home in Sylvania, causing injuries to her head, forearm and wrist.
He also found that during a holiday at Lake Conjola on the NSW south coast, Scott charged into Ms Clark, knocking her to the ground.
Scott was also found to have verbally threatened Ms Clark during a phone conversation in which he threatened to kill both her and himself and after which he deliberately drove his car into a tree.
Over those incidents he was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and stalk or intimidate with the intention of causing fear or physical harm.
Scott was cleared in regards to several other allegations, including that he choked Ms Clark during an argument on the night of the 2018 NRL grand final.
He initially pleaded not guilty to four counts of common assault, stalk or intimidate with the intention of causing fear or physical harm, intentionally choke a person without consent, two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and intentionally choke a person with recklessness.
During a series of hearings at Sydney Downing Centre local court, the court heard from witnesses close to both parties, including Scott’s former roommate and Melbourne Storm star Brandon Smith.
Scott admitted he and Ms Clark struggled with issues of trust and jealousy in their roughly two-year relationship between 2017 and 2019 that resulted in heated arguments.
However, he denied the arguments ever became physical or that he threatened Ms Clark with violence.
Ms Clark shed tears as evidence of the assaults and guilty verdicts were read to the court, supported by family members.
Mr Scott sat silently next to his older brother, who gave evidence in his favour during the trial.
When asked in evidence why she waited close to two years to officially come forward with the allegations, Ms Clark said she had hesitations over how she would be portrayed by the media.
Ms Clark said she had concerns over how women making allegations against NRL players had been treated in the past and about how she would be “scrutinised as a woman”.
Magistrate Codington described evidence given by Ms Clark’s family members as “persuasive” and hers as “compelling”.
On the night of the assault in Sydney’s Sylvania, Ms Clark claimed she was in bed when Mr Scott came back to her house “smelling of alcohol”.
While there were no direct witnesses to the assault, Ms Clark’s parents testified they had been woken by noise and yelling and came downstairs to find their daughter cowering against a wall with Mr Scott above her.
Magistrate Codington accepted Ms Clark’s evidence that Mr Scott had forcefully pressed his head into hers, pushed her and “launched” her over a couch, leaving her with a lump on her head and grazes to her forearm and wrist.
The offence of common assault occurred on Boxing Day of 2019 when the pair travelled to Lake Conjola to stay at a holiday home belonging to Ms Clark’s uncle.
It followed an argument between the pair over a message Ms Clark received on Christmas Day from an unknown man, which Mr Scott allegedly took issue with.
While at the holiday home, the court was told the couple argued and Mr Scott had walked outside, followed by Ms Clark and her sister, Tomysha, who testified to having an obscured view of the incident from behind a car.
“I was looking just to make sure nothing had happened. I could see Curtis’ body language get aggressive,” Tomysha Clark told the court.
“I just saw him really quickly move forward and her body disappeared.”
Ms Clark said she tried to calm down Mr Scott, who then used his body to knock her to the ground.
“He kind of charged at me. I don’t know what connected with my jaw. Could have been his shoulder, could have been his head,” Ms Clark said during her evidence.
After the incident, Mr Scott allegedly told Ms Clark he was “really sorry”.
Magistrate Codington said he was “satisfied the accused charged the complainant knocking her to the ground”.
However, he said evidence of injuries sustained in the incident including ripped nails, a skinned knee and bruises on Ms Clark’s arm had not been sufficiently proven, resulting in a lesser guilty finding of common assault.
In what Magistrate Codington referred to as “the break up incident”, Mr Scott threatened Ms Clark over the phone while he was driving after having ended their relationship days before.
Ms Clark’s parents were also listening to the call and testified having heard Mr Scott call their daughter a “sl*t” and a “whore”.
During her evidence, Ms Clark testified to having heard Mr Scott say, “F**k you, I’m going to f**king kill you. This is your fault.”
She said Mr Scott had screamed at her in “the most horrific voice” – “I’m going to f**king kill you c**t”.
During his evidence, Mr Scott called the moment the lowest in his life, but claimed not to have threatened Ms Clark’s life, but only his own, before deliberately driving his car into a tree.
Magistrate Codington said the evidence did not sufficiently support other allegations, including that Mr Scott had been verbally abusive “every night” that she stayed with him at a home in Melbourne he shared with several teammates.
He said it also did not support beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Scott had choked her on the night of the 2018 NRL Grand final in an incident which only the couple was present for.
A sentence date has been set for November 18.