LATEST: A former All Black has been acquitted of a serious assault.
Bryce Graeme Robins, 55, who played for the All Blacks in the 1980s, was charged with causing Michael John Hardgrave grievous bodily harm with intent of causing him grievous bodily harm at Robins' Central Tavern in Eltham on Easter Monday 2010.
In the Whanganui District Court today Judge David Cameron said there was insufficient evidence for the trial to continue and acquitted Robins of the charge.
The Crown alleged Robins was part of a group of men who assaulted Mr Hardgrave after he broke two of the tavern's windows following a disagreement.
Towards the end of the third day of the trial yesterday, Erica Brinkhorne told the court that as she drove along Bridge St, towards High St, she saw one man "rucking'' someone on the ground.
While a second "chubby'' man in a light-blue shirt appeared to be holding the person down.
A third man was leaning against the tavern's wall.
She could clearly identify the man doing the "hard, vicious'' rucking but at the time had no idea who the chubby man was.
Under cross-examination however, defence council Philip Morgan QC, questioned the noticeable differences between what she told the court yesterday and a statement given to the police in 2011.
He said she told police she had driven in a totally different direction and that she knew who the chubby man was.
She had referred to him as Cabbage - Robins' nickname.
Ms Brinkhorne admitted she was in fact told a few days later who it might be, but she never recognised the person at the time.
She maintained she never told police she thought it was him, but admitted it was her signature at the bottom of the statement.
Mr Morgan questioned how sure she was that the person that appeared to be holding Mr Hardgrave down was in fact a man, because she was "completely confused'' about which way she had driven.
"All I know is I seen the fight,'' she said.
Earlier, Maureen Phillips, who lived in an upstairs apartment on Bridge St, told the court how she stumbled across the fight after she was dropped off by a bus.
She said she saw a man in the gutter with two women and another man leaning over him.
The man in the gutter was covered in blood and the two women were crying.
She then saw Robins drag another man towards TSB Bank before taking him into the tavern.
She then went home.
Taranaki-based surgeon Peter Liston also gave evidence yesterday and outline the injuries suffered by Mr Hardgrave.
Mr Liston said the fractures to Mr Hardgrave's face were consistent with severe blunt force trauma.
He said the damage could have been done by either fists, feet or knees, but under cross-examination said it was possible the injuries could have been caused by a head hitting pavement - although that was unlikely.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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