A-League bucket man pitch invader appeals jail sentence

The face of a violent A-League pitch invasion, who threw a bucket of sand at a goalkeeper, wants his jail sentence overturned in part because of the publicity around his role.

Alex Agelopoulos launched a bucket of sand at the head of Melbourne City goalie Tom Glover during a pitch incursion in December last year.

Glover had to be taken to hospital just after the 20-minute mark of a derby match against Melbourne Victory on December 17, which was subsequently abandoned because of the violence.

Agelopoulos was sentenced to three months behind bars and a community corrections order which included random drug testing for 18 months after his release.

Melbourne Victory fans invade the pitch (file image)
It was unfair Agelopoulos had become the “face” of the violent pitch invasion, his lawyer argued.

He is yet to serve any prison time, after being freed on bail to appeal the sentence.

His barrister Dermot Dann told the Victorian County Court during that appeal on Tuesday that parity - a principle in which offenders receive like sentences for like crimes - was fundamental to the criminal justice system.

Agelopoulos was the last of several pitch invaders to be sentenced and the only one to receive a prison term.

In this case it was unfair Agelopoulos had become the “face” of the violent pitch invasion while others hadn’t received the same level of publicity, Mr Dann argued.

“Of all the offenders who took part in this mindless activity on the day, he’s the one who has been the face of this terrible incident and who has become the face of these terrible offenders,” he said.

He said footage of Agelopoulos’ actions had been played in news reports, while another man who king hit someone in the back of the head hadn’t suffered the same fate.

Mr Dann made a similar argument during Agelopoulos' original sentencing.

"He will forever be known as bucket man and will have to work hard to overcome that," he said.

The court heard the pitch invasion was preceded by a planned walkout of fans protesting a deal by stakeholders effectively guaranteeing finals matches would be played in Sydney for coming years.

The move was unpopular with clubs and supporters outside NSW.

During the walkout flares were thrown onto the pitch.

Glover threw one of the lit flares back toward the sidelines and a second was overthrown and landed in the stands.

Judge Mark Gamble noted that appeared to the the catalyst for the invasion.

But he added that it was through no real fault of Glover, and the flares should not have been thrown in his vicinity in the first place.

Mr Dann argued Agelopoulos was a youthful offender at now just 24, but noted an expert found he viewed the world more like a teenager.

He has also taken steps toward rehabilitation including gaining full-time employment, giving up ice and alcohol, and completing a positive lifestyle program.

Judge Gamble has ordered Agelopoulos be re-assessed for a more significant community corrections order which would include conditions relating to his alcohol use.

He expressed concerns that Agelopoulos had previously reported reducing his alcohol intake on weekends, before later admitting he was still drinking upwards of 10 standard drinks on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The appeal is expected to continue later in the week.

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