Celebrity chef George Calombaris has been fined $1000 for assaulting a man at this year’s A-League Grand Final, with the magistrate responsible dubbing his appearance before a Sydney court as a “tragedy”.
The Masterchef judge will appeal the decision to record his conviction, with his lawyer arguing the negative publicity he had received was enough.
Calombaris pleaded guilty to the assault of a 19-year-old fan in the aftermath of a dramatic football match in May.
The 39-year-old was goaded by Sydney FC fans after they beat Melbourne Victory in a penalty shootout.
Calombaris, then Melbourne Victory’s number one ticket holder, was on the pitch at the time, but walked towards the fence before punching the teenager in the stomach.
The court had previously heard that Calombaris called the victim a “big-mouth man” and a “dodgy c—” before the assault.
Magistrate Peter Miszalski said on Friday that the incident could not be overlooked.
“It was a very public display of aggression,” he said in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court.
“I watched those [television cooking] programs many years ago and was very much a fan.
“To see a man like this come before the court is a tragedy.”
Calombaris quit his ambassadorial role with Victory as a result of the charges, while he has also imposed a 12-month ban on attending A-League games on himself.
The day after the incident, he said: “I am really disappointed with what occurred last night.
“I was genuinely shocked when post-match football banter turned into personal abuse about my family.
“I regret the way in which I reacted, I am disappointed that I let it get to me, and I sincerely apologise for offending anyone.
“While I am not proud of my reaction to the situation, I was offended by a spectator yelling out abusive and derogatory comments about my family.
“I have spoken to Melbourne Victory FC and Football Federation Australia today to report the situation and I’m truly sorry that this has happened.”
Calombaris later said it was “horrible” to watch CCTV footage of the assault in court, and that he had apologised to the teenager and police.
Vision of the incident showed Sydney FC fans taunting Calombaris about the underpayments scandal surrounding his businesses.
In April, Calombaris apologised after 162 of his company Made Establishment Group’s 430 employees – including staff at his Melbourne restaurants The Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic – were short-changed a total of $A2.6 million.
Social media users felt the punishment on Calombaris was very lenient, with some dubbing it as “unreal” and a “farce”.
The appeal against the recording of a conviction will be heard in January.
— Rowan (@FightingTories) October 20, 2017