All Blacks se­cu­rity guard pleads not guilty

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SYD­NEY: The se­cu­rity con­sul­tant at the cen­tre of the All Blacks bug­ging case pleaded not guilty to a charge of pub­lic mis­chief at a lo­cal court in Syd­ney yes­ter­day.

The ac­cu­sa­tion that a lis­ten­ing de­vice had been placed in the New Zealand team room at their Syd­ney ho­tel ahead of their Rugby Cham­pi­onship test against Aus­tralia last Au­gust caused ac­ri­mony be­tween the two rugby unions.

Adrian Gard, who has worked on se­cu­rity with the New Zealand team for a decade and has also pro­tected for­mer US Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and other celebri­ties, was ar­rested and charged by po­lice in Fe­bru­ary.

He ap­peared at Waver­ley Court near Bondi beach yes­ter­day and reg­is­tered a ‘not guilty’ plea. The case was ad­journed un­til May 2, lo­cal me­dia re­ported.

Ac­cord­ing to the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, po­lice will al­lege Gard made a false state­ment to po­lice that he had found a lis­ten­ing de­vice in a chair in the team room, spark­ing an un­nec­es­sary in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The 51-year-old Aus­tralian’s lawyer told re­porters he had re­quested a two-day hear­ing when All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and his man­age­ment team were avail­able.

Hansen last month de­scribed the charge as “bizarre and un­be­liev­able” and said he could not con­ceive of any mo­tive for Gard to do what the po­lice al­lege.

De­spite New Zealand Rugby be­ing aware of the al­leged dis­cov­ery of a de­vice ear­lier that week, it was not re­ported to the po­lice un­til the morn­ing of the match, when it was also splashed across the New Zealand me­dia.

Wal­la­bies coach Michael Cheika and Aus­tralian Rugby Union chief Bill Pul­ver later sug­gested the tim­ing of the po­lice re­port was aimed at caus­ing max­i­mum dis­trac­tion to their team.

New Zealand thrashed Aus­tralia 42-8 in the match at Syd­ney’s Olympic Sta­dium. Reuters

Adrian Gard

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