AFL Legend Tony Liberatore Embroiled in Election Harassment Case, Avoids Conviction

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Revered Western Bulldogs player, Tony Liberatore, acknowledged having purportedly harangued an election official during the proceedings for the anticipated 2022 Victorian election after being informed that his opportunity to vote had elapsed.

Liberatore, a seasoned player whose career spans 16 transformative years marked by an impressive 283 AFL games, made his court appearance virtually at Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on a benign Tuesday.

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His participation was facilitated through a videolink connection from his vehicle, following his recent discharge from a medical facility, where he sought treatment for a fractured ankle just hours prior to the court session. Liberatore’s legal representative provided this context to explain his client’s unconventional setup for court attendance.

The presiding court heard from both sides—the police prosecutor and defence—that the circumstances surrounding the case render it apt for a process of diversion. This particular judicial strategy enables first-timers or minor criminal offenders to circumvent the ramifications of a bona fide criminal conviction.

Liberatore, now 57 and a proud grandfather, confessed to twice jostling a pre-poll election worker shortly after dusk, around 6pm, on November 25, 2022.

Upon presenting himself at the Essendon booth intending an early vote, Liberatore was informed he was five minutes past the designated cut-off time, necessitating his return on another day. This detail was disclosed in a comprehensive summary of the offending episode.

It was reported that, to alleviate mounting tension, the election official permitted Liberatore to proceed with his vote while also notifying him of her intent to involve law enforcement.

Upon later questioning, Liberatore provided a somewhat ambiguous account, claiming his altercation with the official was a mere “movement around the woman”. He supported his stance with anecdotal representations of the event in question.

Despite the unpleasant encounter, the victim—who miraculously emerged unscathed—expressed her concurrence with Liberatore’s enrolment in the diversion program.

However, fast forward ten months, Liberatore’s lawyer soberly declared the incident was a lamentable circumstance that ought not to have transpired. This remark was echoed in his assertion that such conduct was grossly inconsistent with Liberatore’s character. Moreover, Liberatore’s representative pointed out to the court his client’s pristine criminal record.

His legal counsel reflected on Liberatore’s illustrious career and the sheer joy football had brought him. He emphasised the breadth of Liberatore’s football journey, filled with milestones as a player, experiences as a coach, and his initiatives as an advocate.

Broadmeadows Magistrate Robert Kumar acceded to placing the Bulldogs’ lifetime member into the diversion program, setting forth conditions of maintaining ethical conduct for three months and a contribution of $1000 to the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.