No backlash for Aaron Smith over naked photo

JO MOIR
Last updated 19:58 15/04/2014
Aaron Smith
Getty Images
NO ACTION: A naked photo of Aaron Smith was shared on social media.

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The New Zealand Rugby Union will not be taking any action against All Black halfback Aaron Smith following a naked photo of him being shared on social media.

Twitter was flooded with comments yesterday about the photo and its source.

NZRU general manager of rugby Neil Sorensen said the issue was a "personal matter" and there would be no further comment.

The photo appears to have been captured as a screen-shot after being sent through social media site, Snapchat.

The development comes after the NZRU chose to pull Smith from a meet and greet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their visit to Dunedin on Sunday.

Smith was stood down from royal duty the day before after the NZRU was made aware a story concerning a personal matter was made public.

Sorensen said the decision to exclude him from Dunedin, where he was meant to receive the IRB Junior World Championship cup from the duke, was to "avoid detracting from a cool day for everyone involved, in particular the royals''.

While the NZRU consider the case closed, the chairman of Netsafe, an independent non-profit organisation promoting safe and responsible use of online technologies, said whoever has passed on the photo had broken the law.

Rick Shera said the law is very clear about the rules against publishing an intimate visual recording.

"I'm very surprised this has happened as it's potentially a crime and a clear breach of privacy.''

Shera said Smith would be within his rights to see a lawyer about the privacy breach and it would be up to the police to pursue any criminal activity under the Crimes Act.

"This does highlight the dangers of Snapchat or any other social media vehicle and how careful people need to be when recording or sending material. If people are going to send something they need to expect that it could end up on the front page of a paper or on the news,'' he said.

Smith plays for the Highlanders in the Super 15. Highlanders representatives could not be contacted for comment.

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