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, was arrested and charged by police last month.
Yesterday, he appeared at Waverley Court near Bondi beach 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, sparking an investigation.
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 distracting their team.
New Zealand thrashed Australia 42-8 in the match on Aug 20.