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Dustin Martin free to play in round 1

Dustin Martin is free to play in round one against Carlton after Richmond has sanctioned the midfield star with a suspended $5000 fine for his behaviour in a Japanese restaurant in December.

Police found no evidence to back allegations that Martin threatened to inflict serious injury against a woman, and Richmond’s sanction was not in relation to that alleged incident.

Rather, the Tigers issued the suspended fine for being drunk and, when challenged for being disruptive, swearing and ‘becoming argumentative’.

‘He has acknowledged this and has apologised for any offence or distress his behaviour caused. His apology was accepted by the complainant,’ Richmond chief Brendan Gale said in a statement.

But Gale also said the Tigers were concerned by the media coverage of the allegations of threats to harm.

‘The allegations of threat to harm aired on Channel 7, and subsequently reported widely across the media, have been extremely distressing and damaging for Dustin, and of great concern to the Richmond Football Club,’ he said.

‘Richmond Football Club finds any threat of violence against women totally unacceptable and condemns such behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

‘However, as with every other member of the community, Dustin was entitled to the presumption of innocence until this very serious allegation was fully investigated.’

Full statement from Richmond CEO Brendan Gale:

‘An allegation of threat to inflict serious injury was recently made against Dustin Martin.

‘The Club’s position throughout has been to establish exactly what happened in relation to these serious allegations so we could properly determine a course of action.

‘The Club has also been mindful of the complainant, and the nature of her allegation, and endeavoured to be supportive whenever she has been in contact with the Club.

‘The Club welcomed the fact the matter was referred to Victoria Police. It was only right that claims of this nature were thoroughly scrutinised and the facts established.

‘Ultimately, after a thorough investigation, the Victoria Police concluded no criminal offence took place.

‘An AFL investigation also concluded that there was no evidence to support or corroborate the allegation.

‘As a result, the Club will not sanction Dustin Martin in relation to this allegation as no threat to harm occurred.

‘Nonetheless, the Club is disappointed that Dustin was intoxicated on the night. When challenged by the complainant for being disruptive, he was argumentative and used obscene language.

‘He has acknowledged this and has apologised for any offence or distress his behaviour caused. His apology was accepted by the complainant.

‘As a professional athlete Dustin enjoys a privileged lifestyle. With professionalism comes responsibility and we expect much better from our players and all personnel.

‘As a result, Dustin will have a suspended sanction of $5000 imposed for a breach of the Player Code of Conduct.

‘The allegations of threat to harm aired on Channel 7, and subsequently reported widely across the media, have been extremely distressing and damaging for Dustin, and of great concern to the Richmond Football Club.

‘Richmond Football Club finds any threat of violence against women totally unacceptable and condemns such behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

‘However, as with every other member of the community, Dustin was entitled to the presumption of innocence until this very serious allegation was fully investigated.’

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