All Blacks performing the Haka. Photo: NewsCorp
All Blacks performing the Haka. Photo: NewsCorp

Rugby: Man charged over All Blacks bugging device

A SECURITY consultant tasked with protecting the New Zealand rugby team has been charged in relation to the discovery of a bugging device in the All Blacks' team rooms last year.

Police announced today a 51-year-old man would face court next month after being charged with "public mischief" following investigations into the discovery of the listening device, which was found in the All Blacks' team hotel at the InterContinental in Double Bay in August last year.

It is understood the man charged has been employed by the All Blacks as a security consultant on their trips to Australia for the last ten years.

The motive behind his actions remain unknown.

"An investigation was established in August 2016 by detectives from Rose Bay Local Area Command to investigate allegations a listening device was located in a room at a hotel in Double Bay," NSW Police said in a statement.

"Following inquiries earlier today, a Future Court Attendance Notice was served on a 51-year-old man for public mischief to appear at Waverley Local Court on Tuesday 21 March 2017."

The Australian Rugby Union strenuously denied involvement in the bugging incident last year, and were extremely annoyed that news of the device's discovery emerged in the media on the morning of a Bledisloe Cup match.

New Zealand officials admitted they'd found the device in a routine sweep on four days earlier but only referred it to the police on the Saturday morning.

ARU boss Bill Pulver said he welcomed news of a man being charged but the matter still left a "bitter taste".

"On behalf of the ARU, I commend the NSW Police for their ongoing pursuit of this matter and for providing closure with a charge being laid against an individual today," Pulver said.

"The aspect that still leaves a bitter taste out of this whole affair is that the discovery of the device was reported publicly on game day, when it is understood that the alleged discovery of the device occurred much earlier in the week leading up to the Test match.

"Clearly the media attention which resulted from it was a distraction that neither team needed on the morning of a very important Test match.

"The ARU and the Wallabies were never accused of any wrongdoing, however it was still important that this matter reached a conclusion to provide complete reassurance to all fans that the organisation and the team had no part in any of this.

"There may be some questions that remain but certainly today's news is welcome news that an individual has been called to account over this incident."

News Corp Australia

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