Sentencing of Scottish rugby player for domestic abuse delayed to allow social work report

The sentencing of a Scottish rugby star who admitted pushing, hurling abuse at, and tracking his girlfriend has been postponed.

Rufus McLean, 22, was expected to be sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday after he admitted abusing Cara Haston, but it was deferred until March 13.

Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss, who continued McLean’s bail, said he would allow a supplementary criminal justice social work report to be written after representations from his solicitor Iain Smith.

McLean, of Gordon in Berwickshire, who earned three caps in his career, admitted to the domestic abuse of Ms Haston between April 2019 and January 2021.

The charge against him said he repeatedly shouted, swore and acted aggressively towards her.

At an earlier hearing, he admitted controlling her movements and insisting she enabled location tracking services on her phone.

He also admitted pushing her to her injury, repeatedly calling her derogatory and offensive names, sending abusive messages, and telling her who she could and could not meet.

Part of the single charge of domestic abuse also said he told her what clothes she could and could not wear, and requested passwords for her social media accounts.

During the half-hour hearing on Thursday, Mr Smith said his client was willing to be educated and the consequences of him committing the offence had already been significant.

Mr Smith told the court McLean had lost his job, his income, and his dreams of playing for his country had come to an end.

His solicitor said there was no doubt McLean would be in the current Scotland squad had it not been for his conviction, and that the offences largely took place when he was still a teenager.

Sheriff Auchincloss was also told McLean had expressed regret for his actions.

After McLean admitted the offences, his club Glasgow Warriors suspended him and said it had taken the matter “extremely seriously”.

Al Kellock, managing director of the club, said: “Sadly, with any crime there is a victim and as a club we want to acknowledge the impact on the young woman involved.

“We are committed to ensuring our players continue to be positive role models and recognise the privileged positions they hold.”

After McLean’s suspension, Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said: “There is no place in today’s society for any form of abuse and his actions have impacted not only his club and rugby in Scotland but more importantly the life of his former partner, which is both sad and regrettable.”

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