Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne has pleaded guilty to drink-driving after a golf cart incident in Sydney in March.
The Wellington Phoenix’s All Whites football defender Tim Payne has pleaded guilty to drink-driving after a shirtless late-night joy ride in a golf court during lockdown in Sydney.
Payne issued his guilty plea to a mid-range drink-driving charge, via email from New Zealand, in the Manly District Court on Wednesday, according to a report in the Manly Daily and Daily Telegraph.
The 26-year-old A-League fullback will be sentenced on June 29.
Payne was charged after breaking the Phoenix’s 14-day coronavirus lockdown by leaving the team’s base at the Sydney Academy of Sport at North Narrabeen to drive the golf cart on a public road.
The A-League season hopes to be back up and running again soon.
* Seven weeks on, Phoenix yet to announce decision on wayward footballers
* Phoenix star Tim Payne must face the music for his golf buggy brain fade
* Wellington Phoenix player Tim Payne ‘sorry’ after drink-drive charge for Sydney joy ride
* ‘Out of our control’: Coronavirus cloud hangs over All Whites’ Middle East matches
Payne – with Phoenix reserve goalkeeper Oliver Sail in the passenger seat – was stopped by police on Oxford Falls Rd, 4km from the team’s base, at 1.10am.
Reports at the time claimed Payne had a roadside breath test and was then taken to Mona Vale police station where he allegedly returned a 0.100 breath-alcohol reading.
According to the Transport for NSW website a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to less than 0.15 and carries a minimum disqualification of six months and maximum court-imposed fine of $2200 for a first offence.
The Manly Daily report stated police were alerted after motorists saw the golf cart on the road.
Payne returned to New Zealand with the Phoenix after the incident when the A-League was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was issued with a court notice to appear for plea or mention in Manly Local Court on June 10.
Payne sent an email, via his New Zealand solicitor, to the court, admitting his guilt.
The Manly Daily report noted that a sentence can be imposed in Payne’s absence on June 29.
A tearful Payne told Radio Sport on March 26 he was sorry for his actions, and apologised for embarrassing his club.
“I just want to say I am incredibly sorry and incredibly embarrassed for what I’ve done,” he said.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and for what unfolded on that night. I’ve let so many people down including my partner, my family, the club as a whole and individuals such as Uffie [coach Ufuk Talay], who has given me a chance this season.
“I’m incredibly embarrassed and so sorry that I’ve let so many people down.
“It was the last day before we left to come home and myself and Oliver Sail took a golf cart for a ride in the early hours of the evening. Contrary to reports we weren’t arrested and the public did not intervene.”
Payne told Radio Sport he would take “full responsibility” for any legal sanctions in Australia and any penalties imposed by the Phoenix and Football Federation Australia, who run the A-League.
“It was definitely a mistake on my behalf. It’s just one of those things you wish you could take back. With anything you do in life, there’s got to be repercussions… I 100 per cent expect there to be repercussions for my actions.”
On the books of Blackburn Rovers as a teenager, Payne has worked hard to resurrect football career in recent seasons following spells with national league sides Auckland City and Eastern Suburbs.
The Aucklander was invited to trial with the Phoenix in pre-season and signed a one-year deal. He became a regular at right-back after stepping in to replace the injured Louis Fenton in round five.
Payne negotiated a two-year contract extension last January.