Case dismissed

Former AFL player Nick Stevens (left) leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Luis Ascui

Former AFL player Nick Stevens (left) leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Luis Ascui

A Victorian magistrate has thrown out a perjury charge against former AFL player Nick Stevens and ordered Victoria Police to pay the ex-footballer’s legal bill.

“This charge is defective and the charge will be marked as dismissed,” Magistrate Ross Maxted said yesterday.

Stevens, who played football for Red Cliffs in the Sunraysia league last year, did not comment as he left Melbourne Magistrates’ Court with his barrister Sean Cash.

The former Carlton and Port Adelaide player, 38, was charged with giving false evidence in Ringwood Magistrates Court in December 2014, when he stated he did not know a woman by the name of Samantha Nash.

At the start of his pre-trial committal hearing on Wednesday, the court was told Stevens and Ms Nash exchanged more than 600 text messages and videos of a sexual nature after meeting at a football event in 2012.

Stevens also made a lewd video of himself with a picture of Ms Nash.

Earlier on Friday Mr Maxted told the prosecution he was “struggling” to understand how they had demonstrated Stevens “wilfully and corruptly gave false evidence when he stated that he did not know Samantha Nash”.

“You have failed to prove corruption,” Mr Maxted told prosecutor Penny Thorp.

The magistrate said the charge against Stevens appeared to be “improperly framed”.

But Ms Thorp said the allegation Stevens “knowingly” gave false evidence included the “wilful” and “corrupt” elements of the offence before the court.

“The word ‘knowing’ encapsulates the elements ‘wilful’ and ‘corruptly’,” she said.

Mr Maxted’s criticisms of the Crown case prompted the defence to ask the court to throw out the charge due to “deficiency in the allegations of the charge before the court”.

In dismissing the charge, the magistrate said the way prosecutors had run the case had put Stevens at a “material disadvantage”.

In March, police confirmed they were also investigating Stevens over a number of failed pool installations in Mildura.

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