A former NRL player found guilty of groping a casino worker while out celebrating a State of Origin win has lost an appeal against his conviction.
A former NRL player found guilty of groping a casino worker while out celebrating a State of Origin win has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Former NRL player loses appeal against grope conviction

A former NRL player who groped a casino worker after celebrating a Queensland State of Origin win has lost his appeal against conviction and has been refused leave to appeal his sentence.

Nathan Sologinkin was found guilty of unlawful and indecent assault and given a wholly suspended four-months' jail sentence in October, last year.

Sologinkin was found to have intentionally touched a Treasury Casino croupier on her vagina, on the outside of her clothing, on July 13, 2017.

The woman told Brisbane District Court she had been returning to her position on the casino floor when a man appeared to bump into her and wipe his hand between her legs.

Sologinkin initially denied touching the croupier and then said he did not intentionally walk past and touch her on the vagina.

Nathan Sologinkin outside Brisbane Magistrates Court. File picture
Nathan Sologinkin outside Brisbane Magistrates Court. File picture

In his appeal grounds, Sologinkin claimed there was a miscarriage of justice because of the way the trial judge directed the jury about his touching of the woman.

But the Court of Appeal found a direction given to the jury by the judge was with the agreement of Sologinkin's counsel.

"The jury could have been under no misapprehension that there was a touching of some kind," the appeal judges said.

The only question for the jury was whether there was an intentional sexual touching.

A video played to the jury supported the woman's evidence that Sologinkin put his hands between her legs to feel her genitals, the judges found.

It was accepted that it was open to the jury to find it was Sologinkin who touched the croupier and that he touched her on the vagina with an open hand.

"It is difficult to see why it was not open for the jury to find that the touching was a deliberate indecent assault," the appeal judges said, rejecting the appeal against conviction.

In the application to appeal against sentence, Sologinkin's counsel submitted the offence should have been regarded as an uncharacteristic act of a man of otherwise unblemished character.

Sologinkin, a father of three, had played first grade rugby league, from 1997 to 2003, for Queensland Crushers, Canberra Raiders, Canterbury Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm.

He had also worked with junior rugby league.

"This was a crude and opportunistic sexual offence by a man of mature years against a vulnerable woman in her workplace," the appeal judges said.

Having been found guilty "upon overwhelming evidence", including a video of the commission of the offence, Sologinkin had been unwilling or unable to express the slightest regret or contrition, they said.

"Patrons at venues like the Treasury Casino, who are there encouraged to drink and carouse, must be aware that the workers who provide the services that make enjoyment of this kind possible are entitled to feel an absolute sense of personal safety against being criminally assaulted," the appeal judges said.

For that reason offences like the one which Sologinkin committed against a staff member carried serious consequences for the offender.

Appeal Court President, Justice Walter Sofronoff, Justice Anthe Philippides and Justice Thomas Bradley refuses leave for Sologinkin to appeal his sentence.

Originally published as Former NRL player loses appeal against grope conviction


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