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
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
"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.