Assault alleged on former All Black

Former All Black Justin Marshall was allegedly drinking inside a Queenstown strip-club before he was assaulted.

Two men have been charged over the incident which unfolded near the entrance to Club 88 on Shotover St early Friday morning.

Marshall, 40, did not suffer serious injuries and is expected to return to his role as a rugby commentator on Sky TV this weekend.

He declined to comment yesterday and is not expected to speak about the incident until after the court case.

Tai Samuel Neilson, 25, a labourer, and Adam David Kearns, 23, both of Christchurch, have been charged with assaulting Marshall with intent to injure.

Kearns is the son of convicted killer Helen Milner.

No further detail about the incident were revealed during a brief sitting before a registrar at the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

Marshall was denied name suppression. The two accused were remanded on bail to their homes in Christchurch. They were ordered not to consume alcohol or drugs, nor associate with each other or Marshall.

The case was adjourned until May 19.

Kearns later told Fairfax Media he would fight the charge. At the time of the incident, he was in Queenstown celebrating his birthday and was unaware who Marshall was when the alleged incident took place. Kearns and Neilson had been drinking at Club 88.

Kearns claims Marshall was there also. The alleged altercation occurred as they left.

"It takes two to tango. I did throw a couple of punches and so did he.

"At this stage I'll be defending it. If it's reduced to a common assault charge, I'll take it on the chin. There was no intent to it.

"I was just protecting myself and my mate was protecting me. He [Neilson] shouldn't have even been charged what-so-ever."

Kearns said he would also pursue neglect charges against police because he believed they did not get him medical attention for a cut to his head.

"My head was split open and I was pretty much bleeding out of my f...... head and they wouldn't call me a doctor so I'm going the cops for neglect, harassment and what not as well."

A police spokeswoman yesterday said Kearns suffered a "superficial wound" prior to his arrest. It was examined after he was taken into custody. "The officer's assessment was that the wound was minor and did not require further medical attention, and no further assistance was requested by Mr Kearns at the time."

Police had not received a complaint in relation to this incident.

If one was received it would be assessed "as per our normal process", the spokeswoman said.

She declined to comment further about the incident.

On Thursday before the incident, Kearns posted on Facebook: "The sculling has started 3 beers dowm in a minute, 6 to come over rakaia bridge yaaaaayer!!! 23 years younger lol (sic)."

On Friday he posted: "Thanks for all the birthday wishes I think I cut a bit loose..... earnt myself a free nights accommodation and a assault with intent.... Gooooood times (sic)." "...guido got what was coming.. back in the system again."

A Sky TV spokeswoman said she did not know details of Marshall's assault but "I understand he's OK".

"We are concerned for Justin and upset that he has been a victim of an assault. We wish him a speedy recovery," the spokeswoman said. "To the best of my knowledge he'll be commentating this weekend."

Club 88 owner Adam Nagy said he knew nothing about the matter.

Kearns' mother, Helen Milner, was jailed in December for the murder of her husband, Phillip James Nisbet, in April 2009. Kearns is also suing her for $60,000 after she framed him for a crime he never committed.

He spent 16 days in custody after he was framed but in 2012 Milner was convicted of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to two years and eight months jail.


The Southland Times