Packer sentenced to two years jail

THE lawyer of NRL player Russell Packer has challenged a magistrate's decision to imprison him for two years, claiming he had "no idea" a punishment so severe was being considered by the court.

Packer, 24, this morning pleaded guilty to assaulting a man outside a nightclub in Sydney's Martin Place in November.

The court heard Packer became involved in an argument with another man over two cigarettes, before striking him to the head with a closed fist.

According to facts tendered to the court, Packer continued to strike the victim while he was lying motionless on the ground, before stomping on his head.

The victim, a 22-year-old man, sustained a fractured eye socket as a result of the attack.

Packer's lawyer claimed his client had no previous criminal record and had the correct support network at the Newcastle Knights to be completely rehabilitated.

But the magistrate disagreed, sentencing him to two years in jail.

"You're behaviour on that night was nothing short of disgraceful," he told Packer in court.

"It is deplorable ... you should be ashamed.

"The community is sick and tired of the behaviour you exhibited that night."

Upon hearing the sentence, Packer's lawyer stood up and asked the magistrate to reconsider - a request that was repeatedly rejected.

Packer was removed from the courtroom in handcuffs while his lawyer took action to appeal the sentence.

The NRL prop has played 110 games for the New Zealand Warriors, but signed a contract in October last year to join the Newcastle Knights.

Packer hit the headlines in June when fined $15,000 for urinating on the field.
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