Former Bulldogs star Hazem El Masri has pleaded not guilty to two charges relating to the domestic assault of his wife, with his lawyer saying the victim is a “compulsive liar”.
The 39-year-old appeared before Bankstown Local Court on Thursday, after being charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault following an incident on Monday night.
The “hysterical and false” accusations were damaging the former Bulldogs star’s reputation, El Masri’s lawyer Chris Murphy told the court.
He argued the victim had made a prank call to police and only attended the police station “because she’d get fined otherwise”.
Police allege the high-profile former winger committed the offences against his 25-year-old wife at their home in Bankstown on Monday.
The matter was adjourned for a hearing on February 1 next year with El Masri’s bail conditions continuing.
However El Masri who appeared relaxed, with his hands in his pockets, will be back in court on Thursday afternoon for an AVO application, which was lodged by police on behalf of his wife.
The former NRL player was a former ambassador for White Ribbon, an organisation that campaigns to stop violence against women.
He was stood down from the role, along with ambassador roles at the NRL and the Bulldogs following the charges.
The Lebanese-born sportsman, who was held up as a positive role model for young Muslims in Sydney, split from his long-time wife Arwa, the mother of his three children, last year.
He recently remarried and the allegations relate to his new wife, Douah El-Charif.