Sport AFL Ben Cousins ready for rehab after stint in jail

Ben Cousins ready for rehab after stint in jail

Ben Cousins shortly after his 2016 arrest on drug charges. Photo: AAP
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The lawyer for troubled AFL premiership player Ben Cousins says he is ready for rehab after spending a month in prison, and denies tapped phone calls in which he told his father he didn’t want to quit drugs are damaging.

The former West Coast captain had a full beard and was wearing a T-shirt when he pleaded guilty in Armadale Magistrates Court on Monday to 11 offences, including aggravated stalking, breaching a violence restraining order and drug possession.

Cousins’ lawyer Michael Tudori said his client had a very long and entrenched drug addiction, and had previously been reluctant to address his problem.

He said four weeks in prison had been sobering for Cousins and a rare opportunity had now come up for a spot in a residential rehab program, which he was willing to do.

“He’s ready and willing to enter a residential rehabilitation program,” he said.

If the Brownlow medallist enters the program, it will last at least six months.

But the police prosecutor said they were seeking a prison sentence.

The court heard Cousins’ phone calls were tapped in prison and in one conversation, he said he did not mind “dressing this up as a rehab”.

Cousins told his father he could quit whenever he wanted.

“I have a bit of gear and it makes me feel normal,” he said.

“I’m not going to stop. I don’t want to stop.”

Mr Tudori said those calls were made earlier in his prison stint and he no longer felt that way.

Magistrate Stephen Wilson said the matter would be better dealt with in the drug court and said the psychological report could be passed on there.

Cousins, who appeared frustrated as he buried his head in his arms, was remanded in custody to appear in Perth Magistrates Court next Monday.

His mother was in court and he looked at her a few times during proceedings, but she refused to speak to reporters as she left.

Outside court, Mr Tudori said Cousins was disappointed with the setback and wanted to start the road to rehab.

Mr Tudori denied the phone calls were damaging, saying they were made when he was still craving drugs.

“I’m very concerned that he’ll lose his (rehab) opportunity,” he said.

Mr Tudori said he had noticed his client was now speaking better and was no longer agitated.

When Cousins was arrested, he allegedly had eight grams of meth and told officers he had a high tolerance.

The VRO was taken out by his former partner Maylea Tinecheff, with whom he has two young children.