For­mer Hawk flies home, no charges laid

Herald Sun - - FRONT PAGE - Brian Lake is head­ing home af­ter be­ing re­leased from an Osaka po­lice cell. LAU­REN WOOD OSAKA lau­

BRIAN Lake’s Ja­panese or­deal is over, af­ter the Norm Smith medal­list was last night re­leased from an Osaka cell af­ter nearly six days in cus­tody.

The for­mer Hawthorn and West­ern Bull­dogs player, 36, had been de­tained in the city’s Mi­nami po­lice sta­tion since early last Sun­day af­ter a latenight al­ter­ca­tion. He walked out look­ing tired just be­fore 5.30pm Mel­bourne time. He has not been charged with any of­fence. Lake wrote an apol­ogy to the vic­tim of the in­ci­dent and also apol­o­gised in per­son in his en­deav­ours to be re­leased. Me­di­a­tion was key, as strict Ja­panese custom made the process del­i­cate for his le­gal team. He could have been held for up to 23 days with­out charge. Lake is set to re­turn to Aus­tralia this week­end. “It’s ob­vi­ously been a tough week for Brian, but he’s look­ing for­ward to re­turn­ing home to see his loved ones,” said his man­ager Marty Pask last night. “He’s grate­ful for the sup­port and guid­ance he re­ceived, in par­tic­u­lar from his le­gal team and the Aus­tralian con­sulate.”

Mr Pask has been in Osaka since Wed­nes­day night to as­sist Lake, who was also helped by the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade.

The for­mer AFL star’s time in cus­tody in­cluded strict vis­i­ta­tion re­quire­ments and tough con­di­tions, with pris­on­ers be­lieved to be al­lowed just three bowls of rice per day.

Lake trav­elled to Osaka to com­pete in an AFL Asia tour­na­ment af­ter a stint in Bali.

Last Satur­day night, af­ter the tour­na­ment ended, he and team­mates went to the The Blar­ney Stone, an Ir­ish pub in the Shin­saibashi district, home to hun­dreds of bars, night­clubs and karaoke venues.

Pub staff were keen to point out to the Her­ald Sun that no in­ci­dent had oc­curred there. Lake had moved on to an­other venue by the time things went awry.

Brown­low medal­list Adam Cooney has de­scribed the last six months of Lake’s life, which in­cluded a mar­riage break-up, as the “most stress­ful point” in his close mate’s life.

Lake’s team coach for the Osaka tour­na­ment, for­mer Essendon player Rick Olaren­shaw, also said this week that Lake had “been go­ing through a fair bit men­tally” and that he had trav­elled to Bali “for a break” that has lasted far longer than in­tended.

DFAT warns trav­ellers of the dif­fer­ences in the Ja­panese le­gal sys­tem, in­clud­ing that de­tainees can be held for up to 23 days with­out charge.

“You’re sub­ject to all local laws and penal­ties, in­clud­ing those that ap­pear harsh by Aus­tralian stan­dards,” it says in its ad­vice to trav­ellers.

“Even if you con­sider the al­leged of­fence may be mi­nor, you may be held for weeks or months dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and le­gal pro­ceed­ings.”

Ini­tial po­lice in­ter­views can last for sev­eral hours, and while de­tainees are per­mit­ted to re­main silent or have an in­ter­preter pro­vided, DFAT says that Ja­panese po­lice are en­ti­tled to ques­tion for­eign­ers in cus­tody with­out a lawyer present, and that “English in­ter­pre­ta­tion may be sub­stan­dard”.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Stacey Steele, Mel­bourne Univer­sity spe­cial­ist in Ja­panese law, said the lengthy na­ture of Lake’s plight would partly be due to lo­gis­tic is­sues such as en­gag­ing trans­la­tors and local coun­sel.

Lake’s sit­u­a­tion, Prof Steele said, also proved a timely re­minder for Aus­tralians trav­el­ling abroad, par­tic­u­larly with the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics loom­ing in Ja­pan.

He en­cour­aged Aus­tralian or­gan­is­ers, com­peti­tors and sup­port­ers to heed warn­ings and to be aware.

“For­eign­ers go­ing to Ja­pan need to re­alise: have a good time and en­joy your­self, but do it safely and do it with your mates,” he said.


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