Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone has apologized profusely for trying to smuggle human growth hormones and testosterone into Australia.
Stallone has been charged with importing banned substances into Australia in February this year during a tour to promote his film Rocky Balboa.
A Customs search of his luggage at the start of his three-day visit to Sydney had revealed 48 vials of the banned human growth hormone product, Jintropin.
Three days later he threw four vials of the male hormone testosterone out the window of his Sydney hotel room when customs officials arrived to search it, prosecutor David Agius told the court at Sydney a couple of days ago.
Stallone's medical condition was not revealed in court, but Agius questioned whether the condition could be treated by Jintropin.
He said a medical statement indicated doctors were "trying to get him off" the banned hormone and trying to educate Stallone about it.
The magistrate was told Jintropin was a generic human hormone growth banned from sale in the US, and while Stallone had a US prescription for the testosterone, it is banned in Australia.
Stallone has already pleaded guilty. In a letter to the court, he said, "I made a terrible mistake, not because I was attempting to deceive anyone but I was simply ignorant to your official rules," and claimed that the drugs had been prescribed to him for an unspecified medical condition.
The website of Australia's Sydney Morning Herald carries the full text of Stallone's apology.
In it he says. "I feel terrible that my breach of the rules has set a poor example to members of the public whose opinion I cherish dearly.
Years go I was diagnosed with a condition and my doctors prescribed human growth hormone and testosterone as treatment. Under medical supervision, I have continued to use both medications.
I had in my luggage a significant quantity of these medications since I was to be on location in Thailand for three months. On arrival in Sydney, the medications were never hidden in any way and without hesitation I showed all my medications to customs officials.
The customs officials inspected the testosterone and allowed me to bring that medication into the country. I have never supported the use of illegal drugs or engaged in any illegal activities in my entire life.
Finally, I wish to express my deepest remorse and again apologise for my actions. It was a hard learned lesson and an eye opener that the world is a complex society and knowing the rules of your intended destination is of paramount importance."
During court proceedings in Sydney on Wednesday last Stallone's counsel Philip Boulten said, "This is not some back-alley body builder dealing covertly with some banned substance in some sort of secret way, this was a legitimate medical condition being treated by doctors of the top-ranking order in the west coast of the United States."
The 60-year-old Stallone faces a maximum penalty of a $22,000 fine alone, meaning he will not have to face court for sentencing.
After referring to the "humiliation and embarrassment" suffered by Stallone through worldwide publicity, Boulten said it was a case where "some real leniency" could be extended to him.
However John Agius, acting for the Customs Service, told the court that there were some grey areas with Stallone's story: "Customs says the four bottles of testosterone were not in that bag and not observed on that night in the search of that bag.
"He threw the four vials from his hotel window into the garden beds below when he knew customs officers were coming to see him the following day. If he believed customs had authorized his continuing possession of testosterone, what reason would he have for throwing that material out of that window?
"There is only one reason, and that is consciousness of guilt with the possession of these vials, which infringed the law," Agius said.
Mean time several Australian journalists who were scheduled to attend a press conference at Los Angeles later this month to launch Stallone's Rocky Balboa have been informed they won't be allowed to cover the event.
A spokeswoman says, "I've just received word that unfortunately we will not be sending any Australian media to attend the Stallone junket due to his impending court case." It is believed Stallone decided to keep them out because he didn't want to answer questions about his drug charges.