Rugby league stars may face jail

The incident happened outside a nightclub Four rugby league stars have been remanded in custody and warned they could face jail after being caught on camera brawling in Leeds city centre.

Leeds Rhinos Chev Walker, 20, Ryan Bailey and Dwayne Barker, both 19, were caught on CCTV, along with Rochdale Hornet Paul Owen, 24, fighting outside a nightclub in July last year.

The judge remanded the four in custody after watching the video and hearing mitigation on their behalf.

They all pleaded guilty to violent disorder at a previous hearing and will be sentenced on Tuesday.

The judge, Paul Batty QC, said "This court views this very seriously. It was a level of violence of a significant degree, late at night, in this city.

"I think you must understand this court is considering custodial sentences of some length."

The court heard how the brawl began after Owen was said to have been tricked into handing over his mobile phone to an unidentified woman outside the Creation nightclub.

As he tried to recover it, the Leeds players thought she was being assaulted and set about Owen.

'Role models'

A four-minute video of the brawl was played which showed the Leeds players trading kicks and blows with Owen.

At one point Owen was seen to punch Barker to the ground and as he struggled to regain his feet he was kicked in the head and knocked out.

The chief executive of Leeds Rhinos, Gary Hetherington, head coach Daryl Powell and club chaplain Steve Mitchell, all appeared at court to provide character references.

Ray Taylor, the chairman of Rochdale Hornets, appeared on behalf of Owen.

All the players were described as role models who did a lot of work in local schools and the community.

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