Rugby

Former All Black pleads guilty

2012-05-18 07:32
Stephen Bachop (File)
Sydney - Former All Black Stephen Bachop has changed his pleas to guilty on four charges relating to an incident on Rugby World Cup final night last year.

In Wellington District Court on Friday a charge of assaulting a female was reduced in seriousness and became a charge of simple assault.

Bachop, 46, pleaded guilty to the reduced charge and another assault charge relating to a man. He also pleaded guilty to resisting police and possessing cannabis. A charge of having utensils for using drugs was dropped.

Judge Susan Thomas did not enter convictions and it is expected that Bachop will ask to be discharged without conviction when he appears for sentencing later this month. He had originally pleaded not guilty.

In a statement issued afterwards he said he had learned a lot while facing up to the consequences of his actions.

He apologised for any embarrassment he had caused his family and fellow players.

"I have changed my pleas today in order to bring this matter to a close.

"Right from the day this happened mine and my partner Belle's focus has been on our children and what is best for them.

"The stress our whole family has been under awaiting the final outcome has been immense and we did not want to drag this out for any longer than was necessary."

He said they wanted to put the matter behind them and move forward positively.

No summary of facts was read to the court on Friday but it had been alleged earlier that Bachop had taken his partner's arm and pulled her towards a taxi to go home. A passerby was also involved in the incident.

The incident was caught on CCTV cameras outside Wellington central police station after a World Cup Final celebration.

Bachop had been commentating at the nearby Green Man pub during the game.

Bachop's name had originally been suppressed in relation to the charges but he did not ask for that to continue. He said identifying himself would prevent any negative impact on other former All Blacks.

Bachop played for New Zealand Colts when he was a teenager and for Western Samoa in the 1991 World Cup. He made his All Blacks debut in 1992 and played a further 17 matches for the team.

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