Injured Wallabies winger Digby Ioane has hired the same lawyer who successfully defended Kurtley Beale on an assault charge last year.
Brisbane-based Angelo Venardos, who also acted for Quade Cooper on a burglary charge in 2009 which was later dropped, will defend Ioane against one count of unlawful assault stemming from an incident in a Melbourne pub on March 9.
He was bailed to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on August 6 after attending a Melbourne police station on Tuesday, a Victoria Police spokesman said.
Ioane is alleged to have pushed a patron at the Mount Erica Hotel, in Prahran, the day after he played in the Queensland Reds’ win against the Melbourne Rebels.
The 27-year-old was stood down by the Reds for their next match but no charges were laid until two months later, when a summons was issued on May 17.
Ioane was touring South Africa with the Reds at the time. It is understood he gave the document to a mid-level team official at the Reds, who then went on leave and forgot to pass on the summons to someone at the club.
It is understood neither the Australian Rugby Union nor Ioane’s manager knew he had been charged until a warrant for his arrest was issued on Monday.
The 35-Test winger was training with his Australian teammates at Carlton’s Visy Park shortly before he was required in court, where the matter was mentioned briefly.
A potentially serious shoulder injury has ruled Ioane out of the final two Tests against the British and Irish Lions.
It has also helped the Wallabies avoid a potential selection dilemma, should Ioane have been available to play with the charge hanging over his head.
Venardos will appoint a colleague in Melbourne to help with the case. He represented Beale when the Wallabies playmaker was charged with the common assault of a bouncer at the Victory Hotel in Brisbane, on the morning before an Australia-Wales Test in June last year.
The charge was dropped in April after the parties went to mediation and reached an agreement out of court.
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