All Blacks bugging accused pleads not guilty

A security consultant hired by the All Blacks has denied a charge of public mischief after a listening device was found in the rugby team's Sydney hotel room last year.

Steve Hansen
Coach Steve Hansen

Adrian Gard, director of the security company Bodyguards International, appeared in the Waverley Local Court in Sydney today on one count of false misrepresentation resulting in a police investigation.

He entered a plea of not guilty. The case has been adjourned until May 2.

The 51-year-old has more than 30 years' experience in the security industry and has worked for leading public figures including former US President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and golfer Tiger Woods.

He had been involved with the All Blacks' security for 10 years.

In August last year, the New Zealand Herald broke the story that a listening device had been discovered in the InterContinental in Double Day during a routine security check on the lead-up to the Bledisloe Cup clash.

Last month, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he couldn't understand why Gard would be charged also took a swipe at suggestions the All Blacks timed the public outing of the scandal to give them an advantage over the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup.

The All Blacks' management waited five days before reporting the discovery of the bug and held a media conference on the morning of the match, angering the Wallabies team who felt the announcement was ill-timed and had caused an unnecessary distraction.

The All Blacks never accused Australia or the Wallabies of wrongdoing, but the incident fuelled a wave of opprobrium on social media while souring relations between the teams throughout the season.

- NZ Herald and AAP

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