Former NRL player and self-confessed "bad boy" John Elias has pleaded guilty to the assault of a man he "put the frighteners on".
A Melbourne court heard Elias, 51, and two cohorts assaulted a senior employee of Cadbury Schweppes in January, 2009.
But the County Court heard on Wednesday that while the victim was not physically harmed or touched, Elias made a threatening call to him after Elias' cohorts "tricked" their way into the Cadbury Schweppes office in St Kilda Road.
Prosecutor Matt Fisher said the incident happened after the company told two brothers, whose business Anglo Distributors had wholesaled Cadbury Schweppes products for 26 years, that its discount deal would be reduced.
Mr Fisher said Elias, with co-defendants George Grotta, 62, and Kamal Tamer, 42, flew from Sydney to Melbourne and on January 12, 2009, a man posing as a media reporter made an appointment to see him.
Mr Fisher said Mr Tamer told Elias in a phone call when they met Mr Scott: "Yeah, boss, I am here now."
Judge Jane Patrick heard that Elias then told Mr Scott that he was a representative of the brothers' company and to give them a contract "or there will be consequences".
When Mr Scott told both men to leave, Mr Tamer said they were "only the messengers" and to call one of the brothers "or next time we won't be just the messengers".
Mr Fisher said Elias later left a voice message on Mr Scott's phone that read: "Are you there Peter, you know it's me. I spoke to you earlier today. Just a phone call mate. You forgot to give them the contract. If you don't give them the contract we will be coming f---ing around and we won't be just visiting. Give them the contract my friend."
Mr Fisher said the victim feared physical injury and for the safety of his family. His employer provided him with 24-hour physical surveillance and upgraded security at his home.
Mr Fisher also said in his summary that when Mr Scott later rang Joseph Samia, who owned Anglo Distributors with his brother Anthony, Mr Samia denied any knowledge of the men who attended his office.
He said when Mr Samia rang Mr Scott to again deny knowledge of the men, Mr Samia stated that he had no control over what must be "secret sympathisers" in Melbourne.
The men pleaded guilty to assault after charges of extortion and blackmail were discontinued by the prosecution before a trial was due to start.
Elias, who played for 12 years and 150 games with various NRL clubs, published a book in 2010 titled Sin Bin: The Untold Story of a True Footy Bad Boy.
He served a prison sentence in 2004 for shooting a man and in 1995 was jailed for drug offences.
His barrister John Desmond said Elias, of Punchbowl, NSW, was now on a disability pension and had ongoing psychiatric health issues.
Mr Desmond said Elias had been foolish to commit an offence of such short duration that was "bound for failure".
Mr Desmond described the assault as an offence "on the lowest order" and told Judge Patrick his client wanted to apologise publicly to Mr Scott and the community.
Judge Patrick described the comment that unless a contract was supplied "there will be consequences" as an example of "putting the frighteners on".
The judge heard that the Samia brothers, between August 2007 and December 2008, had discussions with Mr Scott over the proposed discount decrease.
"During those discussions," Mr Fisher said in his summary, "Joseph Samia told Peter that the decrease would result in Angelo having to cease trading."
"On occasions he became verbally abusive toward Peter," he said.
Both brothers later denied knowledge of an envelope hand delivered to Mr Scott on December 11, 2008.
Mr Fisher said the envelope contained Joseph Samia's business card and a number of conditions relating to the business relationship between Angelo and Cadbury Schweppes.
Barrister Gary Hevey, for Mr Grotta, of Ryde, NSW, said his client was a former rugby league and soccer trainer who had a number of health issues.
He had been "invited to attend the room" where Mr Scott was and acted in a non-participating manner apart from his presence.
Tim Marsh, barrister for Mr Tamer, of Yagoona, NSW, told the court the incident took about 11 minutes from entry to exit and that his client knew nothing of the previous business dealings.
He had been coached by Elias in the 2007 rugby sevens tournament for the Lebanese team, he said, and was now also on a disability support pension after being diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
Mr Fisher made no distinction between the conduct of the men and commented that "this was not ideally the way to do business".
Mr Scott had not wished to make a victim impact statement and recently said he just wanted to get on with his life.
Mr Fisher did not agree that the offending was at the lower end, submitting the words and actions were still serious and warranted a jail sentence.
In her sentencing remarks on Wednesday afternoon, Judge Patrick told each man it was "clear you made a bad decision to get involved in this exercise".
Judge Patrick noted the effect on Mr Scott and his fears for his family and young children, and that while there were threats and physical intimidation she agreed that for an offence of common law assault - which carries a maximum of five years' jail - it was at the lower end.
She told Elias, whose offence was committed while on parole for malicious wounding, he had an "unusual history" of successful sporting achievements and court appearances for dishonesty and violence.
Judge Patrick accepted the death of his father had left him without a male role model and that this, in part, explained his involvement in crime.
She also accepted that Grotta's role was limited to his physical presence and that Tamer - who had worked previously as primarily a sporting journalist for radio stations 2UE and 2GB - had considerable family support and no relevant prior offences.
In mitigation, Judge Patrick took into account the men's guilty pleas, which were expressions of remorse, and their utilitarian value and the delay from offence to resolution.
All had demonstrated positive progress towards rehabilitation, she added.
Elias was sentenced to five months' jail and his co-defendants to three months each, the terms wholly suspended for 12 months.