NRL star Brett Finch has been charged in connection with a major police operation targeting child abuse.
The 40-year-old retiree who played 330 freshman games was arrested on Tuesday and slapped with five counts of using a transportation service to transmit or post child abuse.
The former half of the Blues have been granted bail by police and are due to appear in Sutherland Local Court in Sydney on Tuesday, January 11.
Court records obtained by Daily Mail Australia reveal that the bail conditions of the accused footballer prohibit him from being around young children. He is also prohibited from accessing social networks or the Internet.
With the exception of immediate family, Finch may not “communicate or attempt to communicate” with anyone under the age of 16, with the exception of immediate family members.
The order prevents him from going anywhere near the places frequented by children, including arcades, playgrounds, school daycares, concerts or sports venues.
NRL star Brett Finch (pictured under arrest) has been charged in connection with child abuse bust
Former NRL star Brett Finch (pictured with wife Elli Johnston) has been released on bail
Finch’s attorney, Paul McGirr, said his client intended to dispute the charges, stressing that he would not have shared child pornography.
“There is no evidence from the police to suggest otherwise,” said McGirr.
“We don’t know who is making these alleged comments. At this point it’s a forbidden case – I can’t add anything more. All we have at this point are limited details.
“It would be foolish of anyone to comment on or pass judgment on Brett or the matter.”
Finch was one of eight people, aged 34 to 71, who were arrested in an investigation into the sharing of child pornography via a hotline.
Officers searched homes around NSW, including Petersham, Cranebrook, Coffs Harbor, Shoal Bay, Gerroa, Surry Hills and Stanmore.
A man in leopard-print shorts was seen by detectives before he was arrested with what appeared to be children’s toys in the house behind him.
Police allege the group used the hotline to broadcast and discuss material relating to child sexual abuse.
During the various raids, cell phones, other electronic devices and cannabis were found.
A man in leopard-print shorts was seen by detectives with what appeared to be children’s toys in the house behind him
The group of men aged 34 to 71 have been indicted for their alleged involvement
The commander of the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Unit, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said the suspected offenders attempted to access some of the material.
“We will allege that each of the men arrested by detectives over the past month has expressed a desire to engage in sexual activity with children and, in some cases, attempted to access abuse material. children from other users of the service, ”she said.
Just days ago, the struggling star opened up about his ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol in a podcast describing how he achieved ” the lowest “.
Finch told Turn Up The Talk podcast on how he lost his girlfriend and was fired from two jobs at his lowest point.
The former half-star, who played for Canberra, the Roosters, Parramatta and the Melbourne Storm in a 270-game NRL career said he was forced to quit his gig at Channel Nine as a commentator and panelist on the NRL Footy Show in 2016, citing mental health issues.
“The lowest was when I was taken off Channel Nine, just to be healthy,” he told Podcast Cost Pat Clifton.
Finch recalled how he snuck into his bed and pretended to sleep after spending all night in his living room ‘doing (drugs) and drinking’ so that his then-girlfriend Elli thinks he was in bed.
‘[I] pretend to wake up, put on my radio shirt because I was working for 2gb continuous calling at the time … i called Ray before [Hadley] to tell him I was sick, ”Finch recalls.
“Get in the car, go straight to my dealership.
“My wife is from Melbourne, she’s not going to listen to the radio, you know.
‘I think, Finchy, you beautiful bastard, you found a great … you know, I’m just going to be doing it all day.’
The former half-star, who played for Canberra, Roosters, Parramatta and Melbourne Storm in a 270-game NRL career, had a rough time following his retirement from the game in 2013
“I sat there and – not that I ever considered killing myself – but I sat there and went, mate, this is not living, it is,” said the former. NRL star on Turn Up The Talk podcast
Finch revealed that his plan failed when his mother heard on the radio that he was ill and his girlfriend later found out.
“Elli knew exactly where I had been,” he said.
‘She said’ I’m going out, I’m going. ‘ Pack his bags and head back to Melbourne.
“I’m coming home, now I’m taken out of both jobs, and I go to my account and have $ 10 minus. Eighteen months earlier, I had hundreds and thousands.
“And my first thought is, where can I get one, where can I get another? “
“He took everything from me, but my thought is that I still want another one.”
“It’s ridiculous, I just lost everything. ”
Finch said the moment made him realize that something had to change in his life.
Finch married five-year-old girlfriend Elli Johnston in 2018 and the couple welcomed a baby girl in 2019
“I sat there and – not that I ever considered killing myself – but I sat there and went, buddy, this is not living, it is.
“I don’t have a dollar in my name, I don’t have a job, my wife is gone, it’s not living.”
Finch married his five-year-old girlfriend Elli Johnston in 2018 and the couple welcomed a baby girl in 2019.
He has previously discussed his struggles with drug addiction after his playing career ended, including stints in rehab in Thailand.
“It took a few years, it took three trips to rehab centers,” Finch told the Matty Johns podcast in 2019.
“I learned a lot about myself and the things I am dealing with. I had to realize that I was not going to reach the heights I had in football and for so long I was chasing that.
As recently as October 2019, Finch checked into a mental health facility after being seen sleeping with a bloody, runny nose on a flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast.
Another passenger said he looked “as white as a ghost” and didn’t appear to want to get off the plane when he arrived.
The former half-star, who played for Canberra, Roosters, Parramatta and Melbourne Storm in a 270-game NRL career, said he was forced to quit his Channel Nine gig as a commentator and panelist at the NRL Footy Show in 2016, citing health concerns
Finch’s most famous moment on the pitch came in the 2006 State of Origin Series opener, when he scored a long basket to win the game for the NSW Blues in front of 80,000 fans.
In another part of the Turn Up The Talk podcast, devoted to mental health issues, Finch advises people who battle similar demons to “keep going.”
“People say they are going through hell. Well, if you’re going through hell, keep going.
‘Why stop? People give up because their life is hell. Keep on going! Who wants to stay in hell?
“I could have given up several times, I’m so glad I didn’t.
“People haven’t abandoned me. ”
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