Teen rugby player broke man’s jaw in ‘retribution’

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A PROMISING teenage rugby league player broke a man’s jaw in an attack outside a Wakefield city centre nightclub.

Leeds Crown Court heard 19-year-old Azeez Salu, who plays for Dewsbury Celtic and has been offered trials with Castleford Tigers, punched Joel Firth in the face outside the Tequila Club on Westgate.

Mr Firth suffered a fractured jaw and cut lip which needed three stitches in the incident in the early hours of April 8.

Salu, who works as a personal trainer at Wakefield gym Xercise 4 Less, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.

Mitigating, Adam Birkby said: “He would like to apologise for what he did. It was totally unacceptable to punch this man.

“He is a 19-year-old with a bright future. He is a talented rugby league player who plays for Dewsbury Celtic.

“He has just been told he has been offered a trial with Castleford Tigers.

“He is devastated to have lost his good character in this way.”

The court heard there had been an earlier altercation in the club between Mr Firth’s friends and Salu’s friends. Salu claimed he had been racially abused.

Judge Penelope Belcher sentenced Salu, of Old Hall Close, Outwood, Wakefield, to a 12-month community order with 250 hours’ unpaid work and ordered him to pay Mr Firth £300 compensation.

She told Salu: “It doesn’t matter what went on in the club. If you were racially abused, the grown up thing to do is to report it and let the police deal with it, not take matters into your own hands. The complainant was simply standing outside looking over his shoulder apparently waiting for his friends.

“He represented no threat to you. This was simply retribution on your part.”

Judge Belcher added: “You apparently have a bright future, marred by this utter stupidity.”

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