Posted on 7/09/2013BEN Barba's estranged partner Ainslie Currie has rejected a second, more formal, approach from the NRL -- this time via Sydney barrister Tony Bannon -- to discuss allegations of domestic violence against the Canterbury fullback.
The Australian revealed this week that the integrity unit had telephoned Currie's lawyer Campbell MacCallum to find out whether she was willing to present her side of the story.
A second approach was made late yesterday when MacCallum received a letter from Bannon's legal firm asking whether Currie would be involved in the investigation. Bannon has been appointed by the NRL integrity unit to conduct an independent investigation of the events that led to Barba being stood down earlier this year.
MacCallum confirmed the approach had been rejected, meaning the NRL cannot rely on any evidence from Currie as it attempts to piece together events of earlier this year.
"She is going to decline at this stage given the fact she was happy with the way it was handled at the time," MacCallum said.
"She doesn't want to participate any further because it is putting pressure on herself and her relationship. I have had a close look at it. I can't see how she can be compelled to say anything. I think she might be just trying to get past it."
Barba has been sidelined with an ankle injury in recent weeks but he made his return off the interchange bench for the Bulldogs during their loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night, wearing the initials of Currie on the strapping over his left wrist.
While Currie cannot be compelled to present evidence, Barba can be and it would come as a surprise if he is not asked to give his version of events at some point.
NRL head of football Todd Greenberg, who was chief executive of the Bulldogs when Barba was stood down, will also give evidence as part of the investigation.
At the time, Greenberg publicly stated Barba had been sent away to undergo counselling for gambling and alcohol problems. Allegations later emerged that he had punched Currie in the face.
Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle returned from Brisbane early yesterday, missing the launch of the Charity Cup -- a pre-season game between Canterbury and Melbourne next February. She said her recall had nothing to do with the Barba case.
"No one's been given a date but I know they are keen to expedite it as much as possible, while making sure they're thorough," she said.
"I'd like to think it will be next week and I think they'd be disappointed if it wasn't."
With the top six positions settled for the NRL finals starting next week, several of those clubs are expected to rest key players this weekend.
Cronulla's Shane Flanagan had no hesitation in giving Wade Graham (shoulder) and Jayson Bukuya (rib) the week off to further help their recovery, instead of being pounded by the Canberra forwards tomorrow. Flanagan has designs on another four players for a rest, including five-eighth Todd Carney.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey is expected to hand first-grade
debuts to teenagers Clinton Gutherson and Jake Trbojevic, resting Brett
Stewart (hamstring) and Anthony Watmough (knee). But Melbourne will be
at full strength to face the Gold Coast tonight.
Credit: The Australian
Orginal Article: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/nrl/barbas-ex-partner-rejects-nrl/story-fnca0von-122671360515