Bird and girlfriend allowed to give evidence at appeal

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  • November 23 2009 3:46PM

Former NRL star Greg Bird and his American girlfriend, who he was convicted of glassing in the face, will be allowed to give evidence at his appeal hearing, a judge has said.

In June, the former Cronulla Shark was sentenced to at least eight months' jail after being convicted of recklessly wounding paralegal Katie Milligan, who suffered a fractured eye socket and cuts to her eye when she was hit in the face with a glass in August last year.

Bird was sentenced to a maximum jail term of 16 months but was immediately granted bail pending his appeal.

Ms Milligan, who has stood by Bird throughout the ordeal, did not give evidence at his trial but did provide a glowing character reference at his sentencing hearing.

She described him as "one of the most loving, sensitive and yet principled men I have ever met".

In September, Bird's lawyers applied for fresh evidence from Bird and Ms Milligan to be heard at his appeal hearing, saying the evidence had the potential to exculpate him.

In the Downing Centre District Court today, Bird's lawyer Bret Walker SC said his client had been "naive" in his initial statements to police and should be given a chance to put the story straight.

Judge Michael Finnane granted the application and the appeal hearing will continue later today.

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