Sat, Sep 07, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Tennis star’s father gets eight-month jail sentence

AFP and Reuters, MADRID

A Spanish judge handed an eight-month jail sentence to John Tomic, father of Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic, for headbutting his son’s French training partner, a court said yesterday.

John Tomic was sentenced for the assault outside a Madrid hotel in May, in which he broke Thomas Drouet’s nose and knocked him out, the court said in a written judgement.

“I sentence the accused Ivica Tomic as the author of a crime of bodily harm ... to a penalty of eight months’ prison,” judge Jacobo Vigil Levi wrote in a ruling, referring to the Bosnian-born defendant by his official name.

A court source said that Tomic could appeal to two higher courts before the sentence is made definitive.

He will not serve jail time, however, as the sentence is less than two years and he has no previous convictions in Spain, the source added. If the sentenced is confirmed, he will have to pay small legal costs.

Bernard Tomic’s training partner Drouet, was left in a neck brace with a bandaged nose after the confrontation outside a hotel in Madrid on May 4.

A burly former taxi driver, John Tomic, 49, tangled with Drouet on the central Paseo de la Castellana during the Madrid Masters in which Bernard was competing.

Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper quoted Drouet as saying that John Tomic had treated him like a “dog” for years.

Shortly before the head-butting incident, John Tomic had told him he was sacked and would not be getting paid.

“I thought he was going to say sorry for the verbal abuse, but no,” Drouet told the paper. “He spat in my face, then walked away and said he wouldn’t pay me any more.”

“I said, ‘Okay, John, you are a real man. That’s fine. Bernard will pay me.’ And he head-butted me,” Drouet said.

In court in July, the Australian player’s father denied the charges, claiming he acted in self-defense.

In the ruling released yesterday, but dated July 24, the judge said there was no proof that Drouet had attacked John Tomic first.

Prosecutors had demanded a two-year jail sentence.

Following the incident John Tomic was banned from attending ATP events including the current US Open, where his German-born son was knocked out in the second round by Britain’s Dan Evans.

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