MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: Shannon Grant of the Kangaroos in action during a Kangaroos AFL training session held at Arden Street May 10, 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Former North Melbourne premiership hero Shannon Grant has avoided a jail term, despite pleading guilty to a number of charges including unlawful assault.

On three separate occasions, Grant beat his ex-girlfriend after accusing her of cheating, and was sentenced to six months in prison in June by a magistrate.

However, Grant appealed to the County Court and was released on bail, with Judge Susan Cohen suggesting he had a responsibility to be a role model.

“I regard it of particular concern that it took three serious incidents to bring you to the realisation of the harm you were doing,” she told the court.

“As an admired footballer … you had a responsibility as a role model to football followers of all ages.”

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Grant has a clean record and showed remorse to the court, with Judge Cohen suggesting he should be sentenced like any other person in a court or law, and not treated differently given his sporting history.

“Sporting celebrity does not entitle you to any special treatment or extra leniency before the law,” she said.

“However nor does it deprive you of the benefits of principles of sentencing to which every person who comes before courts is entitled.

“You otherwise have been functioning as a responsible member of the community engaged in employment until that ceased as a result of these charges.

“The publicity in relation to your offending and appearance before court has resulted in what your counsel called extra-curial punishment. That means punishment outside what a court imposes, specifically publicity that has led to your having to leave your previous employment and with that losing your income.

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“There will also be the shame inflicted because of such publicity.”

Grant will need to complete 200 hours of unpaid community work as part of his two-year community corrections order.