All Blacks security consultant Adrian Gard has denied making a false statement to police about finding a listening device in the team’s hotel meeting room in Sydney last August.
Gard, who has worked for the All Blacks for more than 10 years, is charged with public mischief after the bug was discovered in a chair in the team meeting room at the Intercontinental in Double Bay in the build-up to last year’s opening Bledisloe Cup match played at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.
The All Blacks did not make the matter public until five days later on the morning of the match held on August 20, angering the Wallabies camp.
The All Blacks easily defeated the Wallabies 42-8, just 12 hours after the details of the listening device emerged.
The world champions scored six tries, recording their biggest win over the Wallabies on Australian soil in 113 years.
Gard’s lawyer Simon Joyner, speaking outside Waverley Local Court, said his client had cooperated with police.
“He has participated with the police in their investigation and he respects the All Blacks and what they represent,” he said.
Joyner has requested a two-day hearing into the matter and wants All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and team management to attend.
Hansen, last month, described the charge as “bizarre” and “hard to understand”.
Gard, 51, has worked as a security guard for more than 30 years and has previously been hired to protect Schapelle Corby, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton.
Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive Bill Pulver said the Wallabies and the ARU had never been accused of wrongdoing and commended NSW Police for pursuing the matter.
The matter will return to court on May 2.