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Tuqiri sacking papers to be publicised

By Josh Jerga and Katelyn Catanzariti 07/08/2009 07:45:34 PM Comments (0)

Sacked Wallabies winger Lote Tuqiri is eyeing a return to the NRL.

Tuqiri, whose case against his rugby union contract termination started in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, said a move back to league made sense for family reasons - if not financially.

"I'm prepared to take a pay cut," he told the Nine Network on Friday.

"My family is quite settled here now, we like Sydney and we like Australia, we don't really want to move and everything else and uproot."

Tuqiri told the network he would consider a return to rugby union when an expected new Australian franchise entered the expanded Super 15 competition in 2011.

It was unclear whether his sacking by the Australian Rugby Union - for reasons yet to be disclosed - would impact upon him potentially joining a new Super club.

The dual international also denied being set to sign with French rugby side Bayonne, with other reports suggesting he was looking to link up there with another rugby league international, Craig Gower.

While his court case threatens to drag on, the former Brisbane Bronco is keen to get back on the field.

And that may be as soon as next weekend with his Sydney club rugby side.

"I am trying to keep myself fit and hopefully next week I'll be running out for West Harbour," he said.

The ARU and Tuqiri's legal team on Friday received a stay on proceedings to prevent the release of information about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal until at least next week.

However, the mystery around Tuqiri's contract termination will remain for now, with parties for the sacked Wallaby and the ARU successfully applying to prevent the release of the documents until next week at the earliest.

The lawyers had argued for the court papers relating to Tuqiri's recent contract termination to be kept under wraps, saying publicity could prejudice the case.

"There's no doubt that a time will arise (when the documents do become available) but why should it be that with the mere lodging of a claim (they) should be released without any control at all over the speculation that may follow," the ARU's lawyer John Sackar QC told the court.

"That's not consistent with open justice, to let people speculate ... when it might place prejudice out there which is entirely unnecessary."

Tuqiri's barrister Tony Meagher SC said the documents only gave one side of the story and to release them would be to encourage discussion outside of the courtroom.

"Your honour shouldn't embark on a procedure that makes allegations public which may force parties to respond in kind," he said.

"The court's process is open but it's not for the purpose of people who read the back page of The Daily Telegraph."

Justice Clifford Einstein said the public had a right to know what had happened in court regardless of who was involved and said open justice "should be not whittled away on a case by case basis".

"Even without the court asking counsel to read out aloud what the pleadings are, the matter is in the same mode and to be treated in the same fashion as if the court had either itself or through counsel required the pleadings to be read aloud," he said.

He did, however, acquiesce to the ARU's application for one "sensitive" paragraph to be redacted from the papers.

Lawyers for the ARU indicated they would be appealing the decision and asked for a stay until the matter could be heard in the Court of Appeal.

The matter will be mentioned in that court on Monday afternoon.

The former Wallabies and NSW Waratahs winger had his $1-million-a-year contract torn up by the ARU on July 1, with no exact details about his termination publicly revealed.

In announcing the sacking last month, the ARU said Tuqiri had allegedly breached the player code of conduct but had not broken the law.

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