NRL star Tom Starling was held in a chokehold while a police officer punched him in the ribs during a violent affray, a court has been told.
The Canberra Raiders hooker and his brothers have fronted court to fight allegations about their roles in a massive brawl at a Central Coast bar that was broken up by a riot squad and several police officers.
The 23-year-old and his brothers Jackson, 25, and Josh, 20, faced Sydney Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday over their alleged roles in a violent brawl at the Shady Palms hotel in December 2020.
Tom and Jackson have both pleaded not guilty to resisting police in the execution of their duty.
Their brother Josh has denied three counts of resisting police and one charge of common assault.
A fourth man, Jesse Byrne, also pleaded not guilty to hindering police.
The violent melee allegedly took place when the Starling brothers were out with friends and family to celebrate a 21st birthday party at the hotel at Avoca Beach.
CCTV footage played to the court shows the NRL star being punched in the face repeatedly by a riot officer as a crush of people fight around them.
The shocking video shows the riot squad and several police officers amid a crowd of struggling people that surges across the room.
A riot officer can be seen grabbing Tom Starling and continuing to hit him in the face while he stumbles backwards.
The Raiders hooker was then held in a headlock as a police officer punched him in the ribs, the court was told.
The court was told the officer, Senior Constable Daniel Drew, admitted he had “no reason to punch” Tom Starling at the time.
Josh Starling allegedly saw what was happening with his brother and kicked out at Constable Drew, striking his thigh “with force”.
Magistrate Daniel Covington said the police officer punching Tom Starling while he was in a chokehold was “clearly inconsistent with his duty” but noted the bar was a “hostile setting” at the time.
None of the police officers involved in the violent altercation have been charged, the court was told.
A police officer testified the professional standards committee is still conducting its investigation into the incident.
The hearing continues.