A footballer on parole for a violent crime who struck a teenager in a match on the weekend "should be back inside", Senator Derryn Hinch said in Warrnambool on Thursday.
The anti-violence campaigner said Heathmere player Will Pickett’s parole should be “revoked immediately”.
“He should be put back inside,” Senator Hinch said.
Pickett copped a three-match suspension from the South West District Football League independent tribunal on Tuesday night after pleading not guilty to an intentionally striking charge. Branxholme-Wallacedale’s Sam Lambevski suffered a broken jaw as a result of the incident.
In 2014 Pickett was sentenced to six years and nine months jail with a non-parole period of four years and three months on nine charges, including armed robbery, recklessly causing injury, theft and drug possession after a violent supermarket robbery. He has posted on Facebook images of his parolee ankle monitor bracelets.
Senator Hinch said Lambevski’s parents should also have been made aware of the player’s criminal history.
A state government spokesman said the ‘Fair Play Code’ sent a clear message that bad behaviour, violence and intimidation had no place in sport in Victoria.
“Associations and clubs that fail to adhere to and enforce the code risk losing existing and future funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria,” he said.
AFL Victoria chief executive officer Steven Reaper said the responsibility of player registrations sat with clubs.
Reaper said leagues would not accept registrations if a player had been de-registered or there was some other reason.
"If clubs accept registrations, the leagues would generally accept that registration," he said.
"Ultimately it sits with the clubs that the players they are registering are of good character. There is no rule banning players with criminal convictions.”
The Standard contacted Heathmere Football Club president Darren Jacobson, Will Pickett and a family relative for comment on the issue but they declined.