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Maitua 'advised not to attend court'

10/08/2006 07:40:05 PM Comments (0)

Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad defended Reni Maitua, saying the rugby league player had not skipped his final court appearance.

Maitua was due to be sentenced for high-range drink driving at Sutherland Local Court on Thursday, but a clerk of the court said the matter was adjourned until next week after Maitua failed to turn up.

However Noad and Maitua's manager Gavin Orr both rejected that claim, saying the 24-year-old had been informed by his QC, Mitchell Cavangher, not to attend.

"His QC told him it would be adjourned," said Orr.

"I'm sure if he was informed he had to be there he would have been in court."

The Bulldogs' utility pleaded guilty after he was caught driving with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit on Anzac Day in Sydney's south.

The 24-year-old was a P-plater when he blew 0.165 in a random breath test just before midnight in Cronulla on April 25.

A reading of 0.165 is more than three times the legal limit for a fully licensed driver, but the limit for P-platers is zero.

Maitua had his driver's licence suspended immediately.

Noad said the club would have made sure Maitua was at court if they had been aware he was required to attend.

"Reni was advised from his QC he did not have to turn up today," said Noad.

"If we had been aware he had to go obviously we would have complied with his need to go to court and would have given him the day off training."

Maitua was dumped to Premier League two days after being charged.

It was the second time this season he was dropped to Premier League for disciplinary reasons after turning up late to a training session ahead of the club's round four bye.

Despite his tumultuous season Maitua later signed a contract extension, keeping him at the Bulldogs until the end of 2009.

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