Former All Black carried knife for 'protection'

08:34, Mar 18 2013
Jerry Collins
ARRESTED: Former All Black Jerry Collins.

Former All Black Jerry Collins could be in custody for more than three weeks as Japanese police investigate the incident in which he was arrested for carrying a knife.

Collins, 32, was arrested at the weekend in the central Japan industrial city of Hamamatsu on charges of illegally carrying a kitchen knife in a department store, police said yesterday.

He told Japanese police he kept a kitchen knife for ''self-defence''.

His agent, Wellington lawyer Tim Castle, said Collins had requested that the New Zealand embassy contact him and a lawyer had been appointed, with the help of the embassy and the Yamaha Jubilo rugby club.

"He's still in custody and the procedure initially allows to hold him for three days,'' Castle said.

"That can be extended for a further 10 days if they wish to do so while further investigations continue, which has to be done through a court application.''

"They can then request another 10 days, again through a court application, which means the whole procedure can be up to 23 days.''

"There are restrictions on who he can communicate with but these don't extend to the embassy or his Japanese lawyer.''

Castle said he was unsure whether Collins was arrested without a charge or arrested on a specific charge.

"But I don't understand there to have been any sinister intent attached to his possession of the knife,'' he said.

Collins' Porirua family is in contact with Mr Castle, who may fly to Japan. "I'm ready to go if I'm needed to.''

Earlier today Castle said Collins may have been threatened and had reason to fear for his safety in the weeks leading up to his arrest.

He had said that while details were still sketchy,  he had heard that there may have been an incident involving social media that gave Collins cause for concern.

"I have heard there were comments made either on his Facebook page or on some other form of social media, that were to that effect, yes."

Collins' sister Brenda, who plays rugby for the Wellington Pride, said the family had not heard from him since reports of his arrest broke and she did not want to comment further.

According to press reports, Collins caught a security guard's attention when he went behind a sales counter at the store.

When approached, he pulled out the 17-centimetre blade from his pocket and placed it on the counter.

It is illegal to have weapons with blades longer than 15 centimetres without police permission in Japan.
Collins, who captained a test match against Argentina in 2006 and scored two tries in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, told police that he "kept the kitchen knife for self-defence", according to the reports.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said the ministry was aware of the arrest.

"The New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo is following up with the local police.

"Consular assistance and support will be extended."

Collins played for Yamaha Jubilo in Japan's Top League from 2011 and left the team last month when his two-year contract expired.

He played for New Zealand in 48 international games from 2001 to 2008, including the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

- Fairfax NZ and AAP