Welsh prop Mitchell spends night in a cell

Last updated 15:44 28/06/2013
Craig Mitchell
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IN HOT WATER: Craig Mitchell.

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Welsh prop Craig Mitchell has been ordered to pay a man A$3,000 after knocking him out in a bar while celebrating the British and Irish Lions' win over the Wallabies last weekend. 

Mitchell, who has played 15 tests, was also sentenced to six months in jail but the sentence was suspended for two years, and fined $1,800 over the incident at a Brisbane hotel. 

He was arrested early Sunday after hitting lawyer Cian Barry at the hotel and spent the night in jail overnight on Thursday. 

Mitchell apologised to Barry after Magistrate Anne Thacker handed down her sentence today, saying ''my actions ... were totally unacceptable and unforgivable.'' 

But Barry said outside the court that Mitchell should have been jailed, and said the apology meant nothing. 

''He comes running in from 10 meters away on the side and smashes me off my feet,'' Barry said. ''It was horrendous. It was unprovoked violence, everyone's had enough of it.'' 

The court was told Barry had been trying to smooth over an altercation between his friends and a group of Lions supporters after some jovial sporting banter turned serious. 

Barry was first punched by Welsh tourist Richard Andrew Davies, and then by Mitchell, who travelled to Australia to watch the game. 

Judge Thacker fined Davies A$1,000 and ordered he pay Barry A$2,000 in compensation. 

Today, the judge told Mitchell he needed to be made an example of. 

''It has to deter other Australians from this sort of behavior at football matches,'' she told Mitchell after recording the conviction. 

Mitchell's lawyer John Cook said he could not say what implications it would have for his client's playing career but he had received his passport back and was free to leave the country. 

''We're in a position now where he wants to head off, he's had a night in the watch house, he had very little sleep and was obviously very anxious because a term of imprisonment (was possible),'' he said.

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- AP

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