Guildford to face Rugby Union misconduct panel

By By Andrew Koubaridis of NZ Herald

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All Black Zac Guildford left Rarotonga in a manner that is normally reserved for Cabinet ministers and criminals.

Guildford, 22, skipped Customs and check-in before being ushered to a Pacific Blue jet via a service door as other people waited in the terminal.

His minder, All Blacks' psychologist Gilbert Enoka, did not check in but was processed by security.

Their departure came despite their public assurances they had no immediate plans to leave the country, where Guildford assaulted two men and harassed a top sportswoman during an all-day alcohol binge.

But New Zealand Rugby Union general manager professional rugby Neil Sorensen said

no special treatment had been sought.

``Hotel staff _ in an attempt to be helpful _ liaised with airport and airline staff to facilitate and manage Zac's departure.''

The treatment given to Guildford is normally reserved for government ministers, the ill and criminals.

Customs and airport security are understood to have allowed it after a request from the airline. Yesterday Pacific Blue said two separate requests for special arrangements were made, one from Aviation Security and the other a resort.

Guildford had been staying at the Crown Beach Resort.

Andrew Haigh, an official with Rarotonga's tax and customs division, said Guildford had his passport swiped and handed in his departure card. He confirmed the All Black received VIP treatment for customs control.

Airport CEO Joe Ngamata said the necessary checks were done. The airline requested at 6pm that Guildford receive the special security checks.

Mr Sorensen said Guildford would go through a misconduct process over the next few weeks.

The fallout over his antics continued, with the triathlete he verbally abused saying she was shocked he had left the country.

Hours before leaving, Guildford told Rarotonga police he remembered seeing Kelly Pick but denied saying anything offensive to her. Despite his denials, Guildford was supposed to meet Ms Pick to apologise for any hurt _ but he left before that could happen.

``I was approached by [Gilbert] Enoka to arrange a meeting and I said I would get back to them and went through my solicitor to arrange a meeting and that was left in their ballpark. I never declined a meeting,'' said Pick.

She dismissed that as All Blacks' spin, but said a meeting had dubious value anyway. She said his actions in leaving the country were not those of a remorseful person.

Ms Pick said she would put the ordeal behind her and focus on upcoming events, including her wedding in three weeks.

However, her mother Eva Pick suggested in a letter to the Herald that the liquor industry was at fault.

``Who is really to blame? The youngsters who are expected to resist sophisticated advertising that tells them it is cool to get blotto, or the liquor lords who make huge profits from the damage they cause?''

 

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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