Sydney Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall has opened up for the first time since being acquitted of 11 charges relating to domestic violence against his former partner and says he’s stronger for the experience.
The case against the Kiwi international was dismissed in court last month after serious allegations made by Jessica Peris, who was ultimately deemed to be an unreliable witness, by magistrate Greg Grogin.
Although the not guilty verdict was a huge relief for the 28-year-old, who’d earlier faced calls from NSW premier Mike Baird for the NRL to stand him down, and then had to listen to deeply personal text messages detailing his volatile relationship with Peris read out in court.
Kenny-Dowall burst into tears when the not guilty verdict was announced and said that was a result of the intense pressure he’d found himself throughout the ordeal, despite his best efforts to focus on playing for the Roosters.
“It was hard but I just had to bite my tongue and keep my head down,” Kenny-Dowall told reporters.
“I definitely felt the support from the club. They never doubted me and gave me the opportunity to have a good pre-season.
“I think every case is different. Mine was probably different to some of the others but I think people make the call at that time based on each situation and I was thankful the NRL and the club stood by me through that tough time.
“But I tried to remain as optimistic as I could and try and prepare as if I was going to play and train every day and try not to think about it too much.
“You don’t know how good you’ve got it until it’s that close to being taken away from you. I’ve definitely come out a stronger person from having gone through that.”