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Ex-NRL player’s brother guilty over death

The brother of disgraced former NRL player Bronson Xerri will end the year behind bars despite a court acquitting him of the most serious charges over a road crash that killed a woman.

Merrylands man Troy Anthony Xerri faced trial in November over a November 2019 crash where his out-of-control ute collided head-on with Joanne Duke’s vehicle in Eastwood.

The crash also caused serious injury to his passenger Michael Nader.

While Xerri admitted speeding before the crash, he denied prosecutors’ claims he had travelled in excess of 105 km/h in the 60 zone.

After a November trial without a jury, Sydney District Court Judge Leonie Flannery on Thursday agreed there was doubt Xerri reached such high speeds, acquitting him of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death and aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

She found him guilty of the lesser charges of dangerous driving occasioning death and dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm – in line with his earlier guilty pleas.

Xerri’s guilty plea to a furious driving charge related to the driver of the car behind Ms Duke’s.

The force of the crash pushed Ms Duke’s car backwards into Edwina Roberts’ vehicle, while the tray of Xerri’s ute was also separated from the rest of the vehicle.

Ms Duke couldn’t be saved, while Ms Roberts was treated for grazes and Mr Nader was hospitalised for a week with injuries including a head wound and facial lacerations.

The prosecutor said its evidence pointed to a top speed of 120 km/h, while Xerri’s case was he was going as slow as 80 km/h.

Xerri was remanded in custody ahead of a sentence hearing on April 22.

He has been in custody since allegedly breaching his bail by driving while suspended and while under the influence of drugs.

Those charges are still before the local court.

Xerri’s brother, former Cronulla Sharks centre Bronson Xerri, is currently sidelined until 2024.

He was suspended in May 2020 after doping samples collected in late 2019 tested positive to banned substances including testosterone, androsterone and etiocholanolone.

“I’ll tell my story (one day), it’s not what everyone thinks it is,” Xerri told Nine News in March. “I made a mistake and now I have to pay the consequences.”

The young centre was one of the brightest stars in the NRL at the time of his indiscretion, scoring 13 tries from 22 matches in his rookie 2019 season.

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