Decision due on league players who attacked pregnant girl

Three young rugby league players jailed for an attack on a pregnant teenager in a bid to cause a miscarriage are expected to find out later this month if they can play again.

The New Zealand Rugby League's judicial committee is due to consider the cases of Shaun Metcalf, Geoffrey Ruaporo and Kyle Donovan within the next fortnight.

The three have completed their prison terms and are back training with local Auckland clubs.

However, the victim's family does not want the NZRL to give them clearance to play again.

Metcalf, Ruaporo and Kyle were once members of the New Zealand Warriors' development squad, but had their contracts terminated when they were sentenced last May.

NZRL chairman Selwyn Pearson said the judicial committee would interview the three individually when it determined their futures in the sport.

"We've done an enormous amount of work," he said. "We've spoken to the probation officers, the Corrections Department, family counsellors. I've been out and seen the girl's family, who are wonderful people."

Mr Pearson said he had a personal view about whether the three should be allowed to play again, but did not want to disclose it.

"I guess my thoughts are a private matter and I have to go with what everyone else thinks," he said.

"But because it's such a sensitive issue, whatever the outcome, it needs to be spelt out in such a way that everybody is comfortable."

Metcalf and Ruaporo were sentenced to 18 months in prison. Donovan, who tried to stop the attack, was jailed for 15 months.

They had pleaded guilty to trying to procure a miscarriage, aggravated robbery and injuring with intent to injure.

By law, prisoners serving sentences of less than two years are released halfway through their terms.

All three were 16 at the time of the August 2003 attack.

During sentencing, the Manukau District Court was told that Metcalf took Ruaporo and Donovan to a park where he had arranged to meet his former girlfriend to discuss the pregnancy.

When they got there, the victim, who was five months pregnant, was dragged from her car, punched around the head and kicked in the stomach.

She was left in the dark bleeding with cuts and bruises. Despite her injuries, she later gave birth to a healthy baby daughter.

- NZPA

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