Laffranchi appears on rape charge


TWEED rugby league star Anthony Laffranchi had no time to celebrate the Gold Coast Titans' historic Monday night NRL victory, flying into Sydney yesterday to face a rape charge.

The morning after the talented backrower helped the Titans defeat the Sharks 18-16 at Carrara Stadium, a sombre Laffranchi was greeted by the Sydney media at Burwood Local Court.

The rape charge against Laffranchi was up for mention yesterday.

Laffranchi, who played for Wests Tigers last year, has been charged with one count of sexual intercourse without consent with a 26year-old woman in September.

The woman told police she might have been sexually assaulted on September 4 in a unit at Five Dock, in Sydney's inner-west, which was linked to Wests Tigers players.

It is alleged she went to the unit with a number of people she had met at a Kings Cross nightclub the previous evening, during Wests Tigers' end-of-season celebrations.

Laffranchi was charged on March 6 by detectives from the child protection and sex crime squad. He refused to comment to reporters yesterday before getting into a car outside the court.

The matter has been adjourned to the same court on May 23.

After he was charged earlier this month, Laffranchi told the Titans he would strenuously defend himself. The club's managing director Michael Searle said at the time no action would be taken on the matter until the legal proceedings were through.

"In the balance of fairness our club will not consider any action until we know the result of the court case," Mr Searle said.

Laffranchi meanwhile gained support from his Titans teammate Scott Prince.

One of the best forwards on the paddock on Monday night, Laffranchi racked up 40 tackles in front of a capacity crowd of almost 18,000.

"From a friend's point of view, hopefully the right thing comes out for him and for ev- erybody else," Prince said yesterday.



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