A man cleared of attempting to sexually assault a woman he pulled into a CBD laneway in Melbourne could, a court has heard, escape jail on a lesser charge.
A community corrections warrant for assault could be handed to the Essendon District footballer Jackson Williams, branded a coward by prosecutors.
Police were informed in October 2018 that the nurse was walking to work along Little Lonsdale Street when Williams, then aged 19, approached her.
Williams acknowledged that he had grabbed the nurse by the neck from the driveway, put her in the headlock, and pulled her into the laneway before pinning the woman to the ground.
But there was no sexual intent, he maintains.
The court heard today that following his arrest, which is being investigated by police, Williams, who is indigenous, has been subjected to racial abuse and other assaults.