Ex-AFL player Grant spared jail

Former AFL star Shannon Grant didn’t think he deserved jail time for repeatedly assaulting a woman, and a Melbourne judge agrees.

The 41-year-old North Melbourne premiership midfielder pleaded guilty to the alcohol-fuelled assaults, including stomping on the woman’s bare foot, and other charges, committed over several months in 2017 and 2018.

He was sentenced to six months’ prison in June by a suburban magistrate, but immediately appealed and was released on bail.

Grant was re-sentenced in the County Court on Tuesday to a two-year community corrections order with 200 hours of unpaid community work.

Judge Susan Cohen found the repeated assaults troubling, the third coming after Grant had already been warned about the legal ramifications of his “jealous and violent behaviour”.

“I regard it of particular concern that it took three serious incidents to bring you to the realisation of the harm you were doing, and the need to change,” she said.

The judge added that violence against women needed to be condemned and that a message should be sent so perpetrators knew they faced “serious consequences”.

“The occurrence of domestic violence in the community has over recent years gained growing recognition for its prevalence and destructive impact on so many lives,” Judge Cohen said.

But she noted that Grant was sorry for his actions and was abstaining from alcohol, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and receiving anger management.

“You have taken significant steps since the time of your offending to address the underlying causes,” Judge Cohen said.

She also considered the assaults to be at the lower end of the scale in terms of culpability.

“While the influence of alcohol is no excuse, these incidents do reflect loss of self-control, rather than deliberate aggressiveness,” she said.

Grant’s assaults included stomping on the victim’s foot after she got out of a bath. He also shoved her to the floor in the bathroom, landing on top of her.

Months earlier, out of jealousy, Grant questioned the woman about phone messages and tried to snatch her mobile during an argument, shoving her into a tree. A similar incident occurred another night.

The woman suffered bruising to her foot, elbow and hip, and a head cut in the incidents.

Grant’s “illustrious” AFL career and fame did not entitle him to any leniency in the eyes of the law, the judge noted.

She also said Grant had been punished to an extent already, having left his job as coach of St Kevin’s Old Boys football club, and it remained uncertain if he could find a new football-related job again.

Grant did not comment to reporters outside court.

He played 301 AFL games, including 243 for North Melbourne. He won the club’s best and fairest in 2001, along with the Norm Smith medal as the best on ground in the 1999 grand final.

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