A former All Black has denied being part of a group who assaulted a man outside an Eltham pub.
Bryce Graeme Robins, 55, appeared before a jury in the Whanganui District Court yesterday, charged with causing Michael John Hardgrave grievous bodily harm with intent of causing him grievous bodily harm at Robins' Central Tavern in Eltham on April 5, 2010.
The jury of seven women and five men heard how Mr Hardgrave, along with Jason Dunlop, had gone to the tavern to play pool, pokies and have a few beers.
Mr Dunlop told the court they left the tavern together later that night after Mr Hardgrave had a disagreement with Robins.
He said he was unsure why Mr Hardgrave was upset.
Mr Hardgrave then broke two of the tavern's windows.
Shortly after, Mr Hardgrave and Mr Dunlop were confronted by two men around the other side of the tavern.
They then launched a salvo of punches, knocking Mr Hardgrave to the ground.
They then kicked him while he was on the ground.
Mr Dunlop told the court Robins was standing next to him as the other two men continued their attack.
In an attempt to stop the assault Mr Dunlop told Robins he would pay for the windows because he appeared to be in charge.
He didn't want to pay but didn't have much choice because "my mate was getting kicked to death".
Under cross-examination however, defence council Philip Morgan, QC, of Hamilton, questioned Mr Dunlop's version of events.
In CCTV footage played to the jury, Mr Dunlop was seen leaving the pub well after Mr Hardgrave.
He then returned for a box of beer before leaving again.
Mr Morgan asked if Mr Dunlop then headed around to the front of the tavern to join Mr Hardgrave.
Mr Dunlop said he didn't remember doing that.
Mr Morgan said perhaps Mr Dunlop's "memory was playing tricks" on him.
Mr Dunlop said he had no memory of what was shown on the footage, but had to accept that that was what it showed.
He said he suffered memory loss due to an accident that occurred some months before the incident and it wasn't because he was too drunk.
Earlier, Nicola Booker, who lived in an upstairs apartment near the tavern told the court how she jumped to the window after hearing glass breaking.
She said she saw two men punching and kicking another and heard someone say "who is going to pay for my windows".
She called police.
Again under cross-examination, Mr Morgan questioned if her memory of the events could have been "a bit wrong" after a 111 call played to the court didn't match up with all the events she described, including the location of a vehicle that could have obstructed her view.
The jury also heard a brief written statement from Mr Hardgrave which was read out in court.
Mr Hardgrave said he didn't remember much of the attack but suffered fractures to his cheeks which needed a 15-hour operation to fix.
Robins played four matches on the wing for the All Blacks on a tour of Argentina in 1985.
He also played on the Cavaliers tour of South Africa in 1986.
The defence is expected to continue its cross-examination of Mr Dunlop today.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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