Parramatta Eels player Dylan Brown has admitted to touching a woman’s breasts without her consent at a Sydney hotel after consuming up to 20 alcoholic drinks. The 23-year-old appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court and pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault at the Golden Sheaf Hotel in Double Bay on June 3. Originally facing five charges, three were withdrawn following his guilty pleas.
In court, Brown, dressed in a black suit and tie, listened as his defence solicitor, David Newham, informed the magistrate of his client’s intention to plead guilty to two of the charges. The court also heard details from a letter of apology Brown had sent to the victim, in which he expressed his regret and acknowledged the impact of his actions. Brown’s lawyer also emphasised that this incident had significantly damaged his client’s budding football career.
According to court documents, the victim, a 20-year-old woman, was on the dance floor at the Golden Sheaf with a friend when Brown, a stranger to her, approached and touched her left breast without consent. Moments later, he proceeded to touch her other breast, causing her to push him away. The agreed fact sheet stated that the victim felt uncomfortable as she had not given him permission to touch her.
Newham argued that the victim had the right to go out without the fear of assault, and stressed that Brown was aware of the gravity of his actions upon viewing the footage. The defense also noted that Brown had no recollection of the incident due to consuming 15-20 drinks throughout the night. However, they emphasised that their client was more than the charges he faced, highlighting his work with autistic children, the homeless, and his charitable donations to children’s charities.
The court was asked to consider that Brown was a “good man.” A police prosecutor agreed that the victim had the right to enjoy herself without being subjected to sexual assault. The incident was initially reported to security at the venue before police were called. Due to his highly intoxicated state, Brown was taken to Rose Bay Police Station for an “investigative time out.”
Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson condemned Brown’s actions, highlighting that they were unacceptable and that no one should have to endure such behavior while out. She expressed concern about his excessive alcohol consumption and urged him to seek help. While acknowledging that Brown expressed remorse, Atkinson convicted him on both counts and sentenced him to an 18-month community corrections order.
Outside the court, Brown’s lawyer stated that his client was deeply sorry for his actions and wanted to move forward. Brown, who was born in New Zealand, has played 95 games for the Eels since joining the team in 2019 at the age of 18. However, following the incident, the NRL applied their “no fault” stand-down policy, preventing Brown from participating in team selection until receiving clearance from the league.
The NRL is expected to make a decision regarding Brown’s playing future in the coming days. The Parramatta Eels released a statement noting that they had been informed by the NRL of his stand-down and refrained from further comment, respecting the ongoing legal process.