Security guard cleared of All Blacks 'bugging' charge

All Blacks logo (File)
All Blacks logo (File)

Sydney - A security consultant employed by the All Blacks was on Friday cleared by an Australian court of a charge of false representation over a bizarre bugging scandal ahead of last year's Bledisloe Cup. 

Adrian Gard had been charged in February after a listening device was allegedly discovered during a routine check of a hotel meeting room before the Test against Australia. 

Media reports at the time suggested authorities believe he had planted the bug himself and then pretended to find it, in a case that raised tensions between the two arch-rivals. 

Gard, who had worked with the New Zealanders for several years, was found not guilty of public mischief one day before Saturday's Rugby Championship opener between the Wallabies and the All Blacks in Sydney. 

But the court found him guilty of another charge of operating without a proper licence. The charge referred to his work as a security consultant. 

After charges were laid, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen labelled them "bizarre and unbelievable" while Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver said the scandal had left a "bitter taste". 

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read told the court earlier on Friday that Gard was a "pretty good man" and had been "pretty honest and loyal in what he does", the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

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