Parramatta winger Maika Sivo will have a clearer understanding of whether he will be allowed to play out the 2020 NRL season when his indecent assault case is heard in a Fijian court on February 17.
Sivo is not required to appear in court and will be allowed to continue training with the Eels but the case is expected to drag on for months.
As a result of the lengthy case, Sivo could be subject to the NRL’s ‘no-fault’ stand down rule, which sees players stood down on full pay while their case is ongoing.
The 26-year-old was charged with indecent annoyance after allegedly touching the skirt of a waitress at Denarau Island’s Wyndham Resort on Boxing Day. The charge was later upgraded to indecent assault.
Sivo told Parramatta he had been attempting to get the waitress’s attention and that she had misinterpreted the incident as a sexual advance. Sivo was later arrested and spent the night in a jail cell on December 29. He was granted bail on a $500 surety.
Eels football manager Mark O’Neill and a member of the NRL club’s support staff flew to assist with the case proceedings on New Year’s Day. Club officials confirmed they were aware of the incident in a statement made on December 28.
Sivo rejoined Parramatta for pre-season training on Monday after a travel ban placed upon him following his arrest was overturned.
“Maika and the club are pleased with the outcome of today’s proceedings and reiterate our respect for the Fijian legal system and its processes,” Parramatta said about the change in bail conditions.
“Maika will return to Australia with our Eels staff and be ready for the commencement of Eels training next week.
Under the league’s policy, players charged with an offence which carries a maximum jail sentence of 11 years or more are able to be stood down until the matter is finalised in the courts.
But the NRL made the call to stand down Manly Sea Eagles Dylan Walker over domestic violence allegations of which he was subsequently acquitted, as well as Panthers player Tyrone May, who in November pleaded guilty to recording four sex tapes without the consent of the women in them. Both of those alleged offences carry maximum penalties of less than 11 years.