Rugby league star spared jail for assaulting anti-doping official at home in Halifax

A PROFESSIONAL rugby league player has been spared jail for assaulting an anti-doping officer who called at his West Yorkshire home to carry out a random drugs test.

Sam Barlow

Sam Barlow, 28, was ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid work by a judge at Bradford Crown Court, after he was abusive and aggressive to Mark Dean, who feared he was going to be punched by the 6ft 3in, 18-stone loose forward for Leigh Centurions.

Barlow, described as “physically imposing”, clenched his fist and drew back his arm, stood over Mr Dean and then barred his way as the “fearful” doping control officer for the UK Anti-Doping agency tried to leave the rugby player’s home, the court heard.

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Barlow, a graduate in sports science who has also played for Huddersfield, Sheffield, and represented Scotland in the 2013 RL World Cup, admitted common assault on July 31 last year at his home in Halifax, at an earlier hearing.

The court heard his career was now in ruins as he had already been given a four-year ban from all sporting activity by the UK Anti-Doping agency for not taking the random, unannounced test when Mr Dean called last year.

Passing sentence on Friday, Judge Jonathan Rose told Barlow: “Perhaps at no time more than this Olympic year has the public been more aware of incidents of doping in sports and the vital role of UK Anti-Doping in ensuring athletes are clean.

“Your behaviour towards Mr Dean was wholly unacceptable and wholly uncalled for.

“He was courteous and polite, you met him with aggression and abuse.

“And you will understand now how much more fearful Mr Dean would be, seeing you behave in this way, because of your build and your size and his knowledge your chosen sport was rugby league.

“In his statement he describes your aggression and menace and he believed you were about to punch him.

“You have brought shame upon yourself and upon Leigh Rugby League Club.”

Judge Rose said he had considered jailing Barlow, who did not physically assault Mr Dean, but for the four-year sporting ban he had already been given which left his career “in ruins.”

He added: “To send you to prison on top of that punishment would be, in the view of this court, harsh and unjust.”

Barlow was ordered to do the 150 hours’ unpaid work, given a two-year community order and must pay £300 court costs.