Ex-All Black cleared of sexual assault

2015-10-20 07:04
Mils Muliaina (Getty Images)

Wellington - British prosecutors have dropped a charge of sexual assault against former All Black player Mils Muliaina for allegedly groping a woman in a nightclub, his New Zealand-based agent said on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old was dramatically arrested in April, when police swooped at Gloucester Rugby's Kingsholm Stadium after his Irish side Connacht had played an away game at the ground.

He was charged over a supposed incident in Cardiff city centre on March 7, when a woman said he had "touched her bottom while she was dancing".

Muliaina said it had been an ordeal, not only for himself but also his seven-year-old son, declaring he intended to "put this behind us and carry on with life".

"I always knew I had nothing to hide, I had done nothing wrong. However, being unable to comment publicly has been incredibly frustrating," he said in a statement.

"While I understand the police have a job to do, the manner of my arrest and the subsequent outcome of their investigation remains difficult to understand.

"It has been an extremely tough seven months."

Muliaina's representatives welcomed the decision to drop the charges, saying the 100-Test All Black had been vindicated and criticising police handling of the case.

"Muliaina has always denied any wrongdoing in this matter," said the joint statement from Muliaina's agent and the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association.

"The decision to withdraw the case throws into question the decision to charge Muliaina in the first place."

The Crown Prosecution Service withdrew all charges on Monday, British time, after an evidence review found there was insufficient evidence to put Muliaina on trial.

The statement criticised the manner of his arrest, saying it "was in full view of live television cameras and beamed around the world".

"It was simply unnecessary to drag him off a rugby pitch under intense global media scrutiny," agent Simon Porter said.

"Unfortunately, it was a demonstration of police grandstanding at its worst."

NZRPA chief executive Rob Nichol called for an investigation into Cardiff Police's handling of the case.

Read more on:    mils muliaina  |  rugby

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