My name dragged in by bugged chat, says Coc-Kroft

By Julie Middleton

A heavily pregnant Lana Coc-Kroft did not apply for continued suppression of her name over a celebrity drug case because she did not see any point.

After some media outlets described the "mystery woman" as a high-profile female television personality, her identity became the worst-kept secret in New Zealand.

Coc-Kroft, 38, obtained an order banning publication of her name over the case last year involving former All Blacks Josh Kronfeld and Marc Ellis and former league star Brent Todd.

The Auckland District Court heard in September that during a bugged conversation as part of the police's Project Aqua, Todd alleged Coc-Kroft wanted to buy cocaine and pills.

She went to the police to explain her relationship to the men and was not charged.

The Herald understands that Coc-Kroft, due in several weeks to have her third child with partner Steve Gleye, 40, decided some time ago to let the order lapse.

She felt there was nothing to be gained in renewing it.

A statement issued yesterday through her agent, Sporting Contacts, read: "When some sections of the media pointed to a female presenter in relation to the Project Aqua case, it was pretty obvious they were referring to Lana Coc-Kroft. Continuing the name suppression that Lana was granted by the courts is no longer a requirement of hers."

In the release, she was quoted as saying: "This upsetting affair has all come about because a group of guys under the influence started throwing my name around in a conversation recorded by police.

"I wasn't part of the conversation, because I wasn't there."

The statement added: "When this episode broke in the news, the police requested to meet with Lana to inform her how her name had come up. They also wanted her to explain the nature of her relationship with the people involved.

"Lana obliged and the meeting took place. The police made it clear to Lana she would not be facing any charges."

It ended with these words: "Lana looks forward to moving on."

The Herald subsequently sent several questions to Coc-Kroft through her agent, one of which asked her to confirm that she did not consume hard drugs.

The agency emailed them to her but later responded that she "would prefer not to comment on anything further".

Amid speculation last year, Coc-Kroft stepped back from roles with the Starship Foundation and the Healtheries health supplements company until it was clear she was not to be charged.

A Healtheries representative said the advertising for which she had been engaged before last years's events was still running, "and as long as the campaign still has life we'll be using it".

Andrew Young, head of the Starship Foundation, which raises funds for the children's hospital, said Coc-Kroft had always been "extremely professional".

Kay Parker, head of the Cure Kids children's charity, said it was "business as usual".

The drugs case ended with Ellis fined $300 for possessing Ecstasy.

Kronfeld admitted using cannabis for "special moments", but was not charged.

Todd has been named as a co-offender, but has never been charged as he has yet to return from Australia.

Four other men still face trial.

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