Former All Black Rene Ranger has been found not guilty today for a 2009 assault in Whangarei.
A jury took less than two hours today to decide that Ranger, 25, was not guilty. He had been charged with injuring chef Jason Dick with intent to injure.
After the foreman uttered the two word verdict, Ranger walked from court a free man.
At a press conference held at the office of his lawyer Arthur Fairley, Ranger said he felt "vindicated" and thanked family and friends for supporting him through the three years since the allegations were made.
His agent Simon Porter said playing an All Blacks test match would have been easier for Ranger than sitting through the last four days in court.
The Crown had alleged Ranger punched and or stomped Mr Dick's head outside the Mangawhai Tavern.
Ranger had denied the assault and the court heard he was defending himself from a sudden and unwanted tackle attempt by Mr Dick.
Judge Duncan Harvey gave the jury of five women and six men very specific instructions as he summed up both the Crown and defence cases this morning.
He said they must remember the incident happened a long time ago and was "awash" with alcohol - which may have affected witnesses' memories of the night.
Judge Harvey said both sides had been critical of each other's witnesses.
"It is for you to decide whatever you accept or whatever you reject.
"It is open to you to accept some parts of what a witness has said, and reject other parts. You must come to your verdict solely on the evidence that has been put to you in this court," he told jurors.By Anna Leask @AnnaLeask Email Anna