All Blacks' Gard found not guilty

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by AAP & Beth Newman

All Blacks security guard Adrian Gard has had his charge of public mischief thrown out, wrapping up the year-long bugging gate scandal.

The Downing Centre court dismissed that public mischief charge, but was found guilty of operating without a security licence.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read provided character testimony for Gard on Friday, volunteering to give evidence to help out his long-time associate, he told media on Friday.

“Just as a mate in some ways and just something I wanted to do, so I've done my bit and it's all I can do,” Read said.

“They decide to put the court case this week, so it's exactly what you have to deal with.”

No other All Blacks players or coaches gave evidence, but team manager Darren Shand appeared via videolink earlier in the proceedings.

Read said he and the New Zealand team respected “Gardy” for his professionalism and the great way he did his job without hurting the team’s “brand.”

Gard, who has been acting as a security guard in Australia for the All Blacks for more than a decade, has pleaded not guilty to making a false representation resulting in a police investigation into the bug.

He claimed to have found the listening device secreted in a chair in the team’s meeting room at the Intercontinental Hotel on August 15 last year.

Read told the court he had known Gard since 2009 and described him as a “pretty good man.”

He said Gard had been part of the All Blacks group for quite a long time and he had always been completely honest.

“The team sees him as very professional,” Read said on Friday.

“He turns up and does the job really well. He’s honest and loyal.

“The guys really respect what he does."

Read would usually see Gard every day before training and most nights he would come to dinner with the team when they were in Australia.

He said the security guard also spent between six to seven weeks with the team during the 2015 World Cup in England.

Kieran Read will captain the All Blacks. Photo: Getty ImagesRead said he was aware of the allegations against Gard and he had been at the hotel on August 15 when the bug sweep took place.

The All Blacks waited for five days before calling in the police as they had hoped to avoid the media getting involved.

Though the All Blacks have maintained their distance from the court case and revelationsaround halfback Aaron Smith and his toilet tryst last year, Read said they were keen to get to game day.

“You've (media) spoken about the week it's been,” he said.

“We want to play footy, it's our job, that's what we came over here for so we can't wait to get out there.

“It's a highly anticipated clash. I expect some pretty big fireworks so looking forward to that.”

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks on Saturday night, kicking off at 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, WIN and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.