The All Blacks team manager has told of his shock when a bug was found in the New Zealand rugby team’s Sydney hotel.
Darren Shand, giving evidence via video link from New Zealand, told the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday that he and security consultant Adrian Gard stared at the listening device in disbelief.
Gard has pleaded not guilty to making up claims about finding the bug secreted in a chair in the team’s meeting room last August.
Mr Shand told the court Gard, who has pleaded not guilty to making a false representation resulting in a police investigation into the bug, had worked as a security guard for the All Blacks since about 2005.
He said Gard’s role during the All Blacks’ stay in the lead-up to the Bledisloe Cup match against Australia on August 20, 2016, was to ensure security for the players at the InterContinental Hotel in Double Bay and when they trained at North Sydney Oval.Mr Shand said Gard had carried out bug sweeps for the team in the past but the team manager decided they needed a new contractor to do the job as they were staying in Sydney for a week, instead of the usual two or three days.
Mr Shand said given the sophisticated listening devices available on the market, he thought if they were going to sweep for bugs they should do the job “thoroughly and properly.”
He said Gard called him at about 5pm on Monday, August 15 saying he needed to see him immediately.
Mr Shand said when he entered Gard’s hotel room he saw two conference chairs taken from the team’s meeting room.
Gard claimed the chairs had given off abnormal readings during a bug sweep, the court heard.
Material from one chair had been cut back and Mr Shand could see what looked like a battery and some wires.
Mr Shand remembered asking, “What is that?” before both men stared at the bug in “shock,” coming to the realisation it was a listening device.
“It’s not something I’d ever seen before,” Mr Shand told the court.
“I think both of us were shocked a bug sweep had potentially found this.”
The hearing continues.