28 February, 2024
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Footy legend’s alleged sexual abuse ‘degrading’


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Legendary Australian Rules footballer Barry Cable’s repeated sexual abuse of a Perth girl was “degrading” and left his alleged victim with life-long injuries, a court has been told.

The now 79-year-old, who denies the claims and is not facing criminal charges, has also been accused of assaulting the teenager in the Perth Football Club change rooms.

The triple Sandover Medal winner is being sued for damages over the alleged abuse that the victim’s lawyer, Tim Hammond, says started in the late 1960s when Cable was at the height of his playing career.

“The abuse was constant, it was pervasive, it was degrading and circumstances when there was a complete power imbalance,” he told the District Court of Western Australia civil trial on Wednesday.

Mr Hammond said the abuse started at girl’s family home when she was 12 or 13 with sexualised conversation and escalated to damaging sexual violence and forceful intercourse.

It allegedly carried on for about five years at various locations, including a public swimming pool.

Mr Hammond said it left the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, with life-long mental health challenges, including chronic stress disorder caused by the abuse.

It also impacted the alleged victim’s education and ability to work.

She also claims Cable threatened to “prey upon” her sister if she did not co-operate with him.

An order preventing him from being identified in relation to the allegations has been overturned on Tuesday.

A judgment delivered on Tuesday revealed Cable had recently been declared bankrupt and intended to take no further part in defending the proceedings other than relying on written material already provided.

If damages were awarded against him, it was unclear whether Cable would be able to meet those costs, the court heard.

The alleged victim’s lawyer, Michael Magazanik, said the bankruptcy revelation had not deterred his client.

He said she was relieved to finally be able to give her evidence after first contacting lawyers in 2018, when WA laws were changed to abolish time limits on the filing of litigation by alleged sexual abuse survivors.

Cable had made several unsuccessful attempts in recent years to have the proceedings permanently thrown out.

The most recent challenge was dismissed by the WA Court of Appeal last year.

One of football’s most decorated players, Narrogin-born Cable was in 2012 elevated to legend status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

He had an illustrious playing career for Perth and East Perth in the WAFL and North Melbourne in the VFL, going on to coach in both leagues.

In 2005, he was named by the AFL as a player and coach in the Indigenous team of the century.

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