Ben Cousins charged with drug possession in Perth

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EX-AFL star Ben Cousins has been bailed from a Perth court on drugs and restraining order breaches after it heard he couldn’t raise a bail surety.

The former West Coast captain, who has battled drug addiction for more than a decade, was arrested in Canning Vale, in Perth’s southeast on Monday.

A bearded Cousins, now 38, looked dishevelled but appeared otherwise composed when he fronted Armadale Magistrates Court.

He appeared in court dressed in a green hooded windcheater and blue tracksuit pants.

Cousins’ lawyer Damien Cripps told the court his client was “actually in a very good place at the moment” but would be unable to secure a surety for bail.

Magistrate Sandra De Maio said it appeared Cousins was going through a tough time and there seemed to be drug issues.

Cousins told the court he was confused whether he had to stay away from the person protected by the VRO or her address.

The magistrate agreed to release Cousins on bail without a surety, but imposed a series of conditions.
The fallen footballer was granted bail to reappear on November 22 but he must stay at the address provided to the court and keep at least 50 metres away from the protected person and her house and have no contact with her unless by SMS to organise spending time with and communicating about his two children, aged five and three.

When asked if there was a parenting plan in place, Cousins told the court it “hasn’t got that far yet”.

He said he had spend a lot of time waiting in the front yard and in the street to see his kids.

Cousins, from Bicton, has been charged with possession of methamphetamine and two charges of breaching a violence restraining order.

The 2005 Brownlow Medallist and 2006 West Coast Eagles premiership player was refused bail and held in the Perth Lock-up overnight.

It is alleged the breach of restraining order charges relate to a recent incident.

The troubled star made headlines as recently as July when he was found directing traffic on a busy Perth highway, near Canning Bridge, in a disoriented state and was taken to hospital.

Last year, he was assessed at a mental health facility after breaking into Perth’s Special Air Service Regiment.

Cousins was a star of West Coast’s 2006 premiership-winning team, but his career and life descended into a downward spiral due to his problems with substance abuse.

A gun midfielder in his prime, Cousins captained the Eagles and was a six-time All Australian. He was named the AFL Rising Star in 1996 and won the Brownlow in 2005, when the Eagles were pipped by Sydney Swans in a cliffhanger final.

But things went south after the Perth club’s grand final win a decade ago. He was suspended by the club in early 2007 and spent time in an American rehab facility, then in October that year he was arrested for drug possession and banned from playing in the AFL for 12 months.

Richmond offered the fallen star a lifeline when they selected him in the pre-season draft late in 2008. He played 32 games for the Tigers, the last of which was in 2010.

No other club wanted to recruit Cousins once his ban was lifted, but Richmond felt obliged to give him the chance to get his life back on track.

West Coast Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett said earlier this year he was still upset the club wasn’t able to help Cousins turn his life around, and feared for his safety every day.

“I guess the disappointing thing is we weren’t able to salvage Ben out of the wreck,” Nisbett told Channel Nine’s The Footy Show.

“I worry (about Cousins) every day. We would like him to be healthy and well and getting on with his life like a 36- or 37-year-old should be doing.

“But we are not sure what space he is in at the moment.”

Around the time of Cousins’ incident in July, his coach at Richmond, Terry Wallace, revealed the strange first meeting he had with the erratic star before deciding to sign him.

He described how Cousins went missing for more than half an hour after saying he was taking a bathroom break.

“Five minutes pass, 10 minutes pass, 20 minutes pass, 25, 30 minutes pass and he hadn’t come out of the loo. I was sitting there wondering what the heck was going on,” Wallace said at the time.

“Clearly what it said to me was that this was a young man that was in a very bad way.”

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