Tom Starling: “If I didn’t have the means to defend myself, I would be behind bars right now.”


Tom Starling: "If I didn’t have the means to defend myself, I would be behind bars right now."

Tom Starling was lucky enough to have the means to support himself after police wrongfully accused him. However, not every person assaulted by the police has that option. The NRL star recently spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about why he is speaking up for those without a voice. 

Starling also explained that having CCTV footage of the event was instrumental to winning his case. 

What happened to NRL player Tom Starling? 

Two NSW Police officers face charges for assaulting Starling. The incident involved a violent brawl at Shady Palms restaurant in Kincumber on the NSW Central Coast. Police charged Tom and his brothers, Josh and Jackson, following a the altercation at the Shady Palms Hotel in December 2020. However, all three maintained their innocence for more than two years. In the end, a court dropped all charges in February 2023. 

Now, two NSW police officers face common assault charges. The judge watched the CCTV footage. Consequently, it showed officers repeatedly punching the NRL star in the face. 

After the altercation, police also charged Tom Starling with grabbing an officer’s gun. A false allegation that harmed Starling’s reputation. 

CCTV shows NSW Police misconduct 

The rugby league star said that if he did not have CCTV footage proving the allegation was false, he would be behind bars right now. He told the newspaper that he wants to be a voice for those who do not have the means to defend themselves after NSW police assault them. 

After reviewing the CCTV footage, Magistrate Daniel Covington, said the scene of the altercation was a “free for all.” Finally, Covington also said it did not look like police officers acting in the line of duty. 

NSW Police wrongfully arrest and charge Tom Starling

Starling is hoping that the NSW Police will reimburse him and his family for their legal costs. Now that the court has charged the police for assaulting Tom and his family. 

Furthermore, Starling has also endured a lot of stress. After the incident, newspaper headlines alleged that he grabbed the officer’s gun. The court found that this claim was false. These false allegations in the public press are very daunting. 

Suing the police 

Starling also explained that he does not believe the police targeted him because of his public status. Instead, he thinks the police targeted the wrong person. Furthermore, Starling spoke about how lucky he felt to have his family and club’s support. 

However, he stated that not everyone is so lucky. He also said that police were pressurising him to accept the charges whilst his legal fees skyrocketed. Starling was able to continue and hold out, knowing that he was in the right. Yet, police might successfully convince people without the means to admit to something they didn’t do. Undoubtedly, people go bankrupt trying to clear their name after being falsely accused. 

Therefore, Starling is speaking up loudly because no one should have to go through this again. 

How to sue the police for wrongful arrest and charge 

Assaulted by the NSW police? Have police wrongly accused you of a crime? If so, get in touch today. 

O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors have a significant practice in the conduct of civil actions against police (suing the police) for unlawful arrest and unlawful imprisonment. The firm has achieved outstanding success in this field of law.

Check out our Case Studies in related matters. 

We successfully defended a practising lawyer who NSW police unlawfully arrested. Not only did the Local Court dismiss criminal charges against this lawyer, the firm also went on to successfully sue the police for damages. Consequently, the client achieved a satisfactory cash settlement.

If you have experienced inappropriate treatment by police:

You might have a case. 

Contact us on (02) 9261 4281 for a free initial consultation. Alternatively, email us on . We can help you sue the police for false arrest and unlawful imprisonment.

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Nicole Byrne

Content Creator | Media Coordinator
O'Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors

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