Half-naked man’s BBL pitch invasion excuse

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A man who stripped, ran onto a cricket ground and hit a security guard in front of 36,000 fans at a New Year’s Eve match has told a court he’d had “too much to drink” before his offending.

On Monday, Lawrence Joseph Johnstone, 40, faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court charged with one count of entering a recreation ground without authorisation following the incident at the 2022 New Year’s Eve BBL match at Adelaide Oval.

The court was told Johnstone had jumped a fence and onto the field within Adelaide Oval but was quickly apprehended by security guards and wrestled to the ground.

“As security tried to remove him, he broke free from restraints and hit a security guard in the face,” prosecution counsel said.

She said Johnstone “did not cause the security guard any injury”.

Lawrence Johnstone was photographed hitting one of the security guards while being apprehended. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty ImagesLawrence Johnstone was photographed hitting one of the security guards while being apprehended. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty ImagesThe court was told the security guard was not injured. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty ImagesThe court was told the security guard was not injured. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images

“They were able to remove him from the grounds and handed him over to police.

“The CCTV footage shows he was not formally interviewed due to being moderately affected by alcohol; however, he was apologetic and admitted he shouldn’t have jumped onto the field during the game.”

Johnstone told the court he was sorry for his actions, which were fuelled by a night of drinking.

“It was very embarrassing what happened,” Johnstone said.

“Too many drinks on the day.”

He said he was embarrassed. Picture: FacebookHe said he was embarrassed. Picture: FacebookHe was convicted and ordered to pay a fine for his actions. Picture: FacebookHe was convicted and ordered to pay a fine for his actions. Picture: Facebook

Magistrate Simon Smart agreed that Johnstone had seemingly had “too much to drink” and been “egged on by friends” before he removed his shirt and jumped onto the pitch on the evening of December 31, 2022.

In a statement after the incident, an Adelaide Oval spokesperson said anyone arrested for entering the playing field faced a minimum three-year ban under their code of conduct.

“As such, this individual will now be banned from the stadium in addition to any other penalties issues by SAPOL or the SA courts,” the spokesperson said.

Johnstone’s penalty had he not pleaded guilty would have been $750, Mr Smart said, however for his early admission of guilt he was ordered to pay a $400 fine and a further $150 to cover court costs.

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