Fallen NRL star Brett Finch was spared going to jail after an attempt to buy drugs ended with him pleading guilty to child molestation charges.
Judge Phillip Mahony sentenced Finch to two years’ imprisonment on Wednesday, suspended on $1,000 bail and conditions, in Downing Center District Court in Sydney.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Fallen NRL star Brett Finch is ‘disgusted with myself’
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Mahony accepted there were “extraordinary circumstances” behind his offense, which was a result of Finch’s drug addiction and not motivated by a sexual interest in children.
The two-year prison sentence is being suspended on probation as part of a recognition release order.
He must continue to behave decently, continue treatment with a psychologist and undergo rehabilitation, among other things.
Finch pleaded guilty in August to one count of using a ride-hailing service to transmit, publicize or promote child abuse.
The 41-year-old said his only purpose in leaving messages on FastMeet – a phone service for gay men – was to obtain cocaine and told the court he was introduced to the service through links to drug dealers.
Finch made the “twisted” comments about children not being able to be published because he thought it would provoke a reaction from people who used or had access to drugs, he said.
He stopped using the service in January 2021, almost a year before his arrest.
When police knocked in December 2021, Finch admitted to using the service and granted access to his devices, on which no child abuse material was found.
He agreed in court that it was a terrible way to buy drugs and was ashamed of it.
His insult was straightforward, he was using his own phone and wasn’t part of a larger network, Mahony said.
His drug addiction came quickly after he first tried cocaine after his NRL career ended in 2013 when he was struggling to transition into a less structured post-football life.
He felt his whole life revolved around rugby league.
Finch played three State of Origins for NSW and won a Premier League with Melbourne Storm in 2009.
His crowning moment came in the 2006 Origin opening game when he scored a match-winning field goal for the Blues.
After football, Finch suffered from mental health issues and has spoken publicly about his struggles with substance abuse.
https://7news.com.au/sport/rugby-league/former-nrl-player-brett-finch-learns-fate-after-pleading-guilty-to-a-child-sexual-abuse-material-charge-c-8941039 Former NRL player Brett Finch has been convicted after pleading guilty to charges of child sex abuse