A security consultant who was charged after a listening device was found in the All Blacks’ Sydney hotel room in August has pleaded not guilty.
Adrian Gard, 51, was charged with one count of false misrepresentation resulting in a police investigation in February. Police will allege Mr Gard gave a false statement to authorities that he had found an “unlawful listening device” in a chair in an All Blacks team meeting room which then resulted in an unnecessary investigation.
Mr Gard’s lawyer, Simon Joyner, made a short statement outside Waverley Local Court on Tuesday, saying his client would plead not guilty when he returned to court on May 2.
“He has participated with the police investigation and he respects the All Blacks and what they represent,” Mr Joyner said.
Mr Gard declined to comment to the media.
Mr Joyner requested a two-day hearing to coincide with the availability of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and his management.
He also said he would issue a subpoena.
It is not clear whether Hansen will be required to give evidence, however there is the possibility he may be able to do so via a teleconference rather than make his way to Sydney.
New Zealand Rugby Union did not respond to a request for comment.
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen described the charge last month as “bizarre and unbelievable”.
“It’s very hard to understand,” Hansen said. “The charged man has worked for the All Blacks, and many other organisations, for a long time and is someone who is trusted and well-respected by us.”
It is understood there was a device of some description, given NZRU chief executive showed Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver a picture of it just before the story came out in the media.
However, police believe it may have not been in a chair, as Mr Gard alleged.
News of the incident, which broke on the morning of the first Bledisloe Cup Test between Australia and New Zealand in August, sent shockwaves through the rugby world.
While no one from New Zealand Rugby said they thought the device was planted by someone from within the Australian camp, Pulver and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believed there was an implication of foul play.
“I knew one thing was definite … the inference was that we were involved, I know that was ridiculous,” said Cheika in February. “It’s not nice to have to answer questions from police and stuff like that, especially when you’ve got absolutely nothing to do with it.”
The incident left a sour taste in trans-Tasman relations for the remainder of the year.
Cheika’s frustration came out in the aftermath of Australia’s loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park in October, accusing New Zealand of inferring that he or his team were behind the device.
While it was first reported by New Zealand media the device was “sophisticated”, later reports suggested this was far from the case.
Gard has worked with the All Blacks as a security guard for more than 10 years whenever they have toured Australia as well as at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
He has also worked for a number of high profile clients, including Paris Hilton, Schapelle Corby and former US President Bill Clinton.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.