Private school mums in court after punch-up
THE mothers of emerging Queensland rugby stars have faced court following a wild clash at a fundraising lunch for one of the state's most prestigious schools.
Two women, whose sons played in the first XV at The Southport School (pictured), were charged with assault over a shocking confrontation with another school mum during which hair was pulled and punches were thrown in front of stunned onlookers during a TSS rugby supporters lunch at a popular Surfers Paradise pub in March last year.
Now, 12 months later, the matter has made its way to a summary trial at Southport Magistrates Court, with Tiffany Nonggorr, of Southport, found guilty of common assault while her co-accused, Leanne Blyth of Kingscliff, was found not guilty of assault occasioning bodily harm after Acting Magistrate Gary Finger ruled she had been provoked by fellow school parent Louise Heathwood who pulled her hair.
Mrs Blyth, whose son was a senior player in the TSS team, is also the mother of Queensland Reds Super Rugby star Angus Blyth.
Ms Nonggorr, a constitutional lawyer, was handed a three-month good behaviour bond after it was found she had pulled Mrs Heathwood's hair, with a further charge of drunk and disorderly conduct dismissed. No conviction was recorded.
Mr Finger found the defendants to be of "impeccable character" in dismissing all but one of the charges against the two women.
Mrs Heathwood, who faced no charges over the incident, said she was disappointed about the court outcome and still can't believe she was caught up in the dramatic dust-up, which left her with severe facial bruising that led to her "hiding from the world" for weeks.
She said she had never met Ms Nonggorr or Mrs Blyth before they stormed over to her table at the luncheon, which featured guest speakers including former Wallabies Lote Tuqiri and Daniel Herbert.
Ms Nonggorr told the court she was upset with Mrs Heathwood's behaviour at the lunch, but speaking to The Sunday Mail yesterday, Mrs Heathwood said there was no excuse for the wild scene that followed.
"It absolutely came from nowhere," she said.
"I never knew them before so I was like 'what the hell is going on?'
"If someone is in my face and pulling my hair I'm going to pull back."
Mrs Heathwood said she "hid from the world for a while" after the ordeal and dreaded returning to volunteer at school rugby matches. She added she was considering further legal options.
It emerged during the court proceedings that she had previously sought damages over the incident.
Acting for Ms Nonggorr and Mrs Blyth, defence lawyer Ron Behlau of law firm Behlau Murakami Grant said the two women wanted to put the matter behind them.
"Our clients are obviously very happy with the outcome of the trial, but don't wish to comment and prefer to get on with their respective lives," he said.
TSS headmaster Greg Wain yesterday said it was not a school matter.
"This is a private matter … that occurred well after the function had concluded," he said.
"We will not be making any further comment."
Originally published as Private school mums in court after punch-up