You Know The Rules: Ex-NRL player guilty of drugs charge
A former NRL player who was caught with cocaine and a rolled note at an Eastern Suburbs pub has avoided conviction.
Justin Horo, 34, pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited drug in Sydney Downing Centre on Monday.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Michael Allen issued the former Manly Sea Eagles player a conditional release order which expires on April 18 2022. Horo also avoided conviction.
The former winger was nabbed by an eagle-eyed police officer who noticed the hulking former rugby league player standing awkwardly outside the toilets at the Golden Sheaf Hotel on March 20.
He was holding a rolled $100 note while waiting in a line outside the bathroom.
A police officer patrolling the pub was suspicious as to why Horo was holding the note in such a manner.
The officer asked the retired NRL star to empty his pockets before finding a small amount of cocaine and a rolled note.
Just after midnight, he was charged with one count of drug possession.
The court heard Horo had been drinking for most of the day and was planning to take the cocaine to "sober himself up".
His lawyer told the court his client had received a form of punishment already as the drug bust had been highly publicised in the media.
Magistrate Michael Allen agreed with the submission and did not mince his words about the attention surrounding the case.
He blasted detailed information being leaked to the press before Horo had appeared in court.
"I find it extraordinary that a matter such as this has made its way to a newspaper in the way that it has," he said.
"I do not find it in any way in the public interest, particularly before it comes before a court."
Magistrate Allen said it was "a gross intrusion upon your person" and he remarked Horo had been caught with a small amount of the drug which was a prevalent offence before the courts.
However, he did not go as far as dismissing the offence as trivial.
"It is sadly prevalent in our community and a reflection on the decadence that is influencing the streets of this city," he said.
The Caringbah resident escaped a conviction and was placed on a conditional release order for a period of 12 months, which means he must be of good behaviour or he can be resentenced for the offence.
The court heard Horo now boasts a popular sports podcast, works as a content creator for a streetwear apparel company, and is heavily involved in charity work.
Horo retired from professional rugby league in 2019 after nine seasons in first grade.
He played 52 games for the Parramatta Eels between 2010 and 2012 as a highly touted rookie.
In 2013, he defected to Manly for the first of three seasons where he had a breakout year.
Since leaving rugby league he has been a staple of YKTR, which stands for You Know The Rules, an apparel and media company created by Isaac John, Corey Norman and James Segeyaro.
The company hit the headlines recently after Norman and Segeyaro were involved in a fight in Cronulla.
Norman was banned for a game and fined $10,000 by the NRL.
Meanwhile, Segeyaro is in the final stages of a 20-month suspension imposed by the NRL anti-doping tribunal.
Cowboys, Panthers, Sharks and Broncos hooker will be permitted to commence full-time training with an NRL club on May 2 and allowed to return to the field on June 2.
He has pleaded with NRL clubs to take a chance on him.
Originally published as You Know The Rules: Ex-NRL player guilty of drugs charge