Digital art for Sam Burgess
Digital art for Sam Burgess

‘I’ll ruin your career’: Burgess’ explosive claims in court

NRL star Sam Burgess denies he raised his hand at his father-in-law and yelled: "F*** you, I'm going to get you", a court has heard.

Burgess, 31, gave evidence at Moss Vale Local Court on Friday as he fights charges related to an alleged argument with Mitchell Hooke.

He previously pleaded not guilty to one charge of intimidation and a back-up charge of assault stemming from the alleged confrontation at his father-in-law's Bowral home in October 2019.

The argument happened during a visit to see his kids at Mr Hooke's home.

Sam Burgess arrives at Moss Vale court. Picture: John Grainger
Sam Burgess arrives at Moss Vale court. Picture: John Grainger

After the lunch break, prosecutor Jamie Palmer interrogated Burgess on the stand claiming he was far more angry during the incident than he had made out.

Phoebe Burgess’ father Mitch Hooke.
Phoebe Burgess’ father Mitch Hooke.

"You were being told what to do with your children - that made you mad," Senior Sergeant Palmer told the court.

Burgess responded: "I was calm, but I was angry".

She put it to Burgess that he called his father-in-law a "piece of s**t" and a "s**t house grandfather" inside the home.

Burgess replied: "That's incorrect ... I never raised my voice inside the house", but admitted he said those things outside.

She told the court Burgess started yelling at Mr Hooke 20cm from his face.

"You then raised your hand and were yelling at him. F**k you, I'm going to get you. You've done this. You've orchestrated this," Senior Sergeant Palmer said.

Burgess responded: "I didn't say that at all."

Phoebe and Sam Burgess in 2018.
Phoebe and Sam Burgess in 2018.

He agreed Mr Hooke asked him: "You're going to hit me, you're going to hit a 64-year-old man?" but he said this happened outside.

Phoebe Burgess with her father Mitch Hooke.
Phoebe Burgess with her father Mitch Hooke.

The prosecution said Burgess responded: "Yes, I'm going to get you", before Mr Hooke replied: "They're going to put you away for that".

Burgess denied this happened.

She told the court Burgess was six foot one and "much taller than Mr Hooke".

Senior Sergeant Palmer refuted Burgess' claim he tolerated his father-in-law for the sake of his ex-wife.

She read messages between the pair: "When you're being polite, do you send text messages with X's and 'I love you's'?

"Yes, I do," he responded.

Burgess admitted in court he did partially blame Mr Hooke for his relationship breakdown.

Senior Sergeant Palmer said the first person Burgess called after the fight on October 19 was "fix-it man", advisor and Sydney accountant Anthony Bell.

"He's a fix-it man. Mr Bell is the person that is called when there are difficulties with persons in the media," she told the court.

Burgess replied: "He's actually my friend."

The court heard he then called family solicitor Sheridan Emerson.

He denied calling Corporate Affairs advisor Stuart Barton, who specialises in reputation and issues management, after being shown his phone records.

"You didn't recall calling that person?" Senior Sergeant Palmer asked.

"I don't know the company. I don't know the person, I don't know who it is," Burgess responded.

The prosecution will put submissions to the court after the lunch break.

Earlier on Friday, Burgess claimed he was treated "inhumanely" by his former father-in-law, who allegedly told him: "I'm going to ruin your career if it's the last thing I do".

Mitch Hooke, Sam Burgess and Phoebe Burgess pictured in 2015.
Mitch Hooke, Sam Burgess and Phoebe Burgess pictured in 2015.

The retired Rabbitohs captain told the court he had an agreement with Phoebe Burgess' family after their separation.

He could see his two children for two hours regularly at Mr Hooke's house.

Burgess said when he arrived for a planned visit at 2pm on October 19, 2019, and walked through the back door he found a list of "instructions" Ms Burgess had left.

"(Mr Hooke) came around the corner and pointed at the children: 'Kids are there, instructions are there', and walked back into the office," Burgess told the court.

Burgess took the kids for a lake-side picnic on the property, with pictures he took of him and the children tendered to the court.

He returned to the house at 3.15pm and turned the TV on.

He said Ms Burgess messaged him to leave the house before she arrived.

"Can you please head off ... I'm not up to seeing you today, please understand," Ms Burgess said in a text.

Mr Hooke then walked through the kitchen and said: "Time's up", Burgess told the court.

"I told Mitch I thought this was inhumane. I said I think he knows there's better ways to do it," he said.

Burgess said Mr Hooke started to bicker with him.

I said: 'Mitch, I think you're a bad person, inside and out. That's why Phoebe is the way she is."

Burgess told the court Mr Hooke followed him out of the house and continued the abuse.

"I put the pram in the boot of my car. He said: 'You could have had all this'," he said.

"And I said: 'All of what? I don't want that. It's all fake."

Burgess said the argument became heated.

"He said: F**k you Sam. I returned the serve. I said: 'F**k you Mitch, you're a piece of shit," Burgess told the court.


He said his ex father-in-law told him: "Nobody loves you. Your own family doesn't love you. We loved you, and you threw it all away."

Burgess said he responded: "You're a bad person, Mitch. No one in this town likes you".

He said Mr Hooke told him: "I'm going to make sure I ruin your career, if it's the last thing I do".

Burgess said he was "disappointed".

He had his window down and said Mr Hooke was still yelling, while he did a three-point turn.

Burgess said Ms Burgess' sister Harriet, who was also at the property, said "just leave it dad", to Mr Hooke.

He said he messaged Ms Burgess saying: "You're still not home - great parenting".

The court heard Ms Burgess texted her husband at 4.22pm saying she had arrived home before sending another text five minutes later. "You're a pig. You're an absolute low life. I'm done. You f**k," she said.

Burgess said he wrote a text to another Hooke family member after Ms Burgess blocked his number, which said: "You guys are all the same. Your dad does exactly what you do, following me around provoking me."

Burgess said he was contacted by police at 10.30pm after he drove back to Sydney.

He said police told him threats were made, but he responded: "If anything it's the other way around".

Burgess had four mid-strength schooners at the Royal Hotel Bowral for an hour and a half before his visit.

But he told the court he was sober.

An interim apprehended violence order was issued by the police on behalf of Mr Hooke, the former CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia.

Originally published as 'I'll ruin your career': Burgess' explosive claims in court

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