Prominent Fox Sports rugby league presenter and pundit Paul Kent has pleaded not guilty to domestic violence offences against his ex-girlfriend as he faced court for the first time.
The NRL 360 co-host appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday charged with common assault and intentionally choking a person without consent.
The allegations relate to 33-year-old Lucy Kennedy, who was arrested with Kent at his inner-west home last Friday morning and later released without being charged.
Police had been called to the Lilyfield residence, in Sydney’s inner west, about 10.30am following reports of an altercation between the pair.
They have applied for an apprehended violence order on behalf of Ms Kennedy, as well as one on behalf of 52-year-old Kent.
Prominent Fox Sports rugby league presenter and pundit Paul Kent has pleaded not guilty to domestic violence offences as he faced court for the first time. Kent is pictured outside Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court
Ms Kennedy indicated through her lawyer on Wednesday she would be opposing the AVO police sought against her.
Kent, who co-hosts NRL 360 on Fox League alongside former league star Braith Anasta and is also a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, is on bail.
The court heard on Wednesday police would be laying an additional charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the journalist.
Lucy Kennedy (above) was arrested with Kent
Solicitor George Elias entered not guilty pleas to both existing charges.
Police would be calling two officers as well as Ms Kennedy to give evidence, while Kent would have three witnesses in his defence.
Outside court, Kent said he and Ms Kennedy had broken up the day before the alleged incident and he was ’embarrassed’ to be before the courts.
‘I’ll let the court process see its way through now and once we get to the end then we can hopefully see things through a different light,’ he said.
Kent declined to discuss the specific allegations against him.
‘That’ll come out once we’re in court,’ he said. ‘You’ll all get to hear what happens, so be patient until then and we’ll all get there.’
He did not believe his career was over and said of his employers: ‘They fully support me’.
In a statement issued at the weekend News Corp said Kent would temporarily stop writing for the Telegraph and would not appear on Fox League in coming weeks.
Kent’s former girlfriend Lucy Kennedy, 33, appeared before Sydney’s Downing Centre court on Wednesday. Police have applied for an apprehended violence order against Ms Kennedy
Kent, who in the past has taken a strong stance against players charged with similar offences, was asked if his position had changed after being accused of domestic violence.
‘Look, I understand that, I’ve always understood that,’ he said. ‘It’s just the rugby league soap opera, that’s the way it rolls.
‘It’s my day in the storyline right now. That’s fine, people are entitled to their opinions.’
‘Paul Kent has been stood down from his duties with News Corp and Fox Sports while he deals with this personal matter,’ the statement read.
League legend Gorden Tallis took Kent’s chair on NRL 360 on Monday night when Anasta told viewers: ‘Paul Kent is stood down while he deals with personal issues’.
One of the most outspoken and recognisable pundits in the NRL, Kent has been a regular co-host of NRL 360 since the show launched in 2013.
However, Fox Sports has since removed past shows from its streaming service, Kayo.
Kent did not appear in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, with the paper stating he was ‘on leave’. A column by Brent Read appeared in the slot normally reserved for Kent’s weekend piece.
He has not been present on NRL 360, with Anasta announcing Kent was away to deal with ‘personal issues’.
A hearing on the charges was set down over two days from December 11.
Kent’s AVO will be mentioned on November 20 and Ms Kennedy’s on August 2.
NRL journalist Paul Kent was arrested and charged with assault on Friday in Sydney
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