Hawthorn great home after jail stint
FORMER AFL star Brian Lake has arrived home in Melbourne after six days in solitary confinement in a Japanese police station cell.
The triple Hawthorn premiership player arrived on Sunday morning at Melbourne Airport looking tired but relieved.
He declined to comment on the circumstances of his arrest and detention in Osaka.
A visibly relieved Lake left Osaka on Saturday afternoon, but refused to comment on his brush with the law until safely home with family. He touched down in Australia about 7.30am Sunday.
The 36-year-old was detained after a late-night altercation in the entertainment precinct of Osaka last Saturday, following a night out in the wake of an AFL Asia footy tournament in the city.
New details have emerged about his detention, with Lake's only human contact for the first five days being with Japanese guards and an interpreter.
He was not allowed visitors, phone calls or reading material, and was kept in a cell no bigger than three metres by three metres.
Lake is understood to have remained virtually unaware of manager Marty Pask's mercy dash to Japan on Wednesday and the delicate negotiations to secure his freedom.
The former footballer was released from the Minami police station without charge late on Friday, after fears he may not secure release ahead of a long weekend in Osaka.
It's believed he was questioned at length one last time on Friday afternoon before being set free.
Detainees can be held for up to 23 days without charge in Japan, with Lake's release considered particularly speedy. Mediation played a vital part in that, with both written and verbal apologies to the local victim and his family being a key factor.
He had engaged a local legal team and received consular assistance from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and thanked both parties on Friday.
Lake - who played 251 games for the Hawks and Bulldogs and claimed the 2013 Norm Smith medal - had travelled to Osaka for the footy event as part of the Indonesian Volcanoes, team as a follow-on from a trip to Bali.
After the footy he had attended a sportsmans' night at an Irish pub in the Shinsaibashi district - a hotspot for bars and nightclubs - last Saturday night.
He was with fellow former AFL players Rick Olarenshaw and Chad Fletcher.
Later on, Lake split from that group. It is then that the incident occurred and he was detained by police.
Lake's spell behind bars has come after a six-month period that one close friend, Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney, has described as the "most stressful" in Lake's life.
This included a marriage breakdown and a "struggle to fill the void" left by retiring from football.
Lake had written on social media from Bali that he had separated from wife Shannon, describing the football tournament as "random stuff you get up to when the wife gives you the ass".
Lake has also moved on from various employers, including Fox Footy, in recent months.
AFL Asia boss and head of the Osaka Dingoes Matt Gale, who lives in Osaka and assisted Lake, said he hoped former AFL stars would continue to play in Japan.
"Despite Brian's ordeal, AFL Asia will always leave the door open for Brian and other ex-AFL footballers to enjoy and participate in our AFL Asia tournaments and events," he said.