Rugby league star Brett Stewart has told a jury the teenager he is accused of sexually assaulting had tried to kiss him and he told her “leave me alone”.
“I remember exactly what happened,” he said in a quivering voice, before wiping away tears in the NSW District Court in Sydney on Thursday.
The 25-year-old Manly Sea Eagles fullback said he was “stunned” by the teenager’s advance and broke down as he recalled being arrested and placed in a police cell.
Stewart was the first defence witness at his trial where he has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting and twice indecently assaulting a 17-year-old girl outside his north Manly home on March 6, 2009.
The crown alleges he digitally penetrated and twice tongue-kissed the teenager.
On Thursday, he outlined his charity work and football career, including representing the Prime Minister’s 13 in 2006 in a Papua New Guinea tour.
The team wore jerseys with a “Say No to Violence Against Women” logo and spoke to villagers on the subject.
Stewart told his QC, Tony Bellanto, this was an outlook he always adhered to and he had always shown respect to women.
He said he was at the club’s season launch on March 6, 2009, where he drank about three or four beers, a couple of champagnes and a couple of bourbon and cokes over a six-hour period before popping in to two bars.
“I was fine, in control, I knew what was going on,” he said.
Mr Bellanto asked whether he was conscious of behaving appropriately.
“I am always conscious of that,” Stewart said.
He caught a cab home and as he walked up the driveway to the complex he saw a young girl approaching the gate.
“I would have said she was 13 or 14, very short, in a singlet top and shorts,” he said, describing her clothing as “very weird”.
“She stopped me at the front of the gate and said, `Are you Brett Stewart?'”
Stewart said he replied that he was, and she said she had seen him on television.
He said he asked what she was doing there, and she replied she was “having a smoke”.
“I said: `Yuck’. I could sort of smell the cigarette,” he said.
He said he told her “that is not good for you”.
“That is when she went for my arm and said: `I just want a kiss’,” he said.
He said she leant out to grab his arm, which is when he backed away.
“Did you kiss her?” Mr Bellanto asked.
“No,” the footballer replied.
“I leant back, I said: `I just want to go home, leave me alone,'” he said, adding he did not see where she went but waited for a few minutes.
“I have always been taught by the club that if there is a scene or anything give it a minute and let the dust settle.”
He said he was then confronted by a large man who asked if he had touched his daughter.
Stewart said he denied touching the girl.
The man threw five or six punches and “knocked me into the fence”, he said.
Stewart became emotional when he told the jury of media reports which alleged “rape in a stairwell”.
“It affected me a fair bit,” he said, wiping away tears.
The trial is continuing before Judge Jonathan Williams.