All Blacks security consultant not guilty in bugging case
Aug. 18, 2017
SYDNEY (AP) — A security consultant working for New Zealand's rugby team has been found not guilty of making up claims he found a bugging device at the team's hotel in Sydney a year ago.
Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson of Downing Centre Local Court on Friday said there was not enough evidence to convict Adrian Gard of making a false representation resulting in a police investigation in August of last year.
Atkinson did, however, find Gard guilty of a second charge of acting as a security consultant without the proper license.
All Blacks captain Kieran Read had earlier told the court via a video link that he believed Gard was "honest and loyal."
Gard and his brother clapped as the magistrate read out her ruling on the charge of public mischief, but appeared surprised when she said he was guilty of the second charge.
The court previously heard the All Blacks only decided to alert police about the bug five days after its discovery, once they knew the story was going to be reported in the New Zealand media.
The device was one of the cheapest and simplest small bugs available, and was reportedly found inside a conference room chair.
The prosecution had alleged "the device was never in the chair (but) the accused made it up."
The incident caused friction between the rugby rivals, with the Australian Rugby Union angry the All Blacks kept silent on the incident for so long and suspected they leaked it to media for a match day distraction.