Ex-All Black bailed on wounding charge

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012
tdn bryce stand
CAMERON BURNELL
Former All Black Bryce Robins

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Former All Black Bryce Robins handed himself in after hearing he was wanted in connection with an assault outside his Eltham tavern, the New Plymouth District Court heard yesterday.

Robins, 54, now living in Perth, appeared in the dock yesterday morning.

He is charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm of a patron, Michael John Hardgrave, outside Robins' Central Tavern on Easter Sunday 2010.

For Robins, Thomas Sutcliffe of Hamilton, asked for bail for Robins prior to trial committal so that he could return to Perth to work in the interim.

There was no risk that he would not appear in court when required.

Robins had come to New Zealand voluntarily, having arranged to do so through his counsel and made contact with police after hearing police wished to speak to him, Mr Sutcliffe said.

Robins was living with family and caring for a very sick daughter in Perth.

He had been working in the mines but had left that job and was now working as a glazier in order to support her.

His daughter was about to start intensive treatment to have an organ transplant after an earlier one failed.

Police prosecutor Michael Stevens said police did not oppose bail but did not want Robins to leave New Zealand.

There were considerable issues for police investigating the assault including the reluctance of witnesses and Robins leaving the country.

When the witnesses finally did come forward, there were two separate trials "and this is part three", Mr Stevens said.

Judge Allan Roberts, who was handed a medical letter by Mr Sutcliffe, said he would allow Robins to return to Australia.

The judge said he took into account Robins' personal circumstances and that he presented himself to the court without police needing to take action to find him.

At the request of police, Robins was ordered not to travel south of Stratford nor contact the named list of witnesses.

Two other men, Noel Lee Bland and Robert Douglas Clement, were found guilty of the same charge at two separate trials.

The trials heard that Mr Hardgrave, who argued with Robins inside the tavern and broke windows after he left, suffered a fractured face and ribs and permanent brain injuries.

Both Bland and Clement, described as friends of Robins, were sentenced to six years' jail.

Giving evidence at Clement's trial, the officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Heath Karlson, of Stratford, told the trial the investigation was ongoing.

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Robins played four matches as a wing three-quarter for the All Blacks on a tour of Argentina in 1985.

He also played on the controversial Cavaliers tour of South Africa in 1986.

- Taranaki Daily News

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