By Adam Cooper
A man has faced court accused of threatening and abusing Richmond defender Dylan Grimes and his wife in the days after the footballer received a controversial free kick in the Tigers’ win over Essendon last year.
Christopher Zammit allegedly sent abusive messages to Mr Grimes on the footballer’s Instagram account, which allegedly included a threat he would rape the footballer’s wife. Police allege the messages carried an intention to cause physical or mental harm to Mr Grimes and arouse fear or apprehension.
According to charge sheets released by Frankston Magistrates Court, Mr Zammit sent the abusive and threatening messages on August 23 last year, the day after Mr Grimes was awarded a contentious free kick in the Tigers’ win in Darwin.
The free kick denied Essendon’s Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti a goal. Mr Grimes was later accused of staging to get the free kick but was ultimately cleared of doing so by the AFL tribunal.
Mr Zammit, 40, of Frankston, faced court on Tuesday charged with two counts of stalking, two of using a carriage service to menace and one of making a threat.
Police also allege that on July 31 and August 1 last year, Mr Zammit abused AFL umpire Andrew Stephens in three voicemail messages left on a mobile phone connected to Mr Stephens’ business.
That alleged abuse came in the hours after Mr Stephens was one of three umpires who officiated in a game between Essendon and the Brisbane Lions which the Bombers lost.
Mr Zammit appeared before magistrate Fiona Stewart via a video link and had his bail extended to his next appearance on June 23. The court heard his lawyers and police were in discussions about finalising the case.
Mr Zammit is one of two men who were charged with stalking Mr Grimes in the days after Richmond’s win over Essendon.
In December, Essendon fan Andrew Alexander, of Mitcham, was spared a criminal record on the promise he be of good behaviour for six months and donate $1000 to a charity after sending a series of abusive emails to Mr Grimes and the winery the footballer runs with his wife.
Mr Alexander sent the emails – which included threats that Mr Grimes was “f---ed” and “f---ing dead” – while he was drunk two nights after the game, the court heard in December.
A magistrate also ordered Mr Alexander to write a letter of apology to Mr Grimes and his wife.
In August, Mr Grimes shared on Instagram some of the messages sent to him and wrote that he wanted to remind Essendon fans “this is a game we play for fun”.
Adam Cooper joined The Age in 2011 after a decade with AAP. Email or tweet Adam with your news tips.