Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Sportsman in dock over bar bashing

Accused man and relative granted name secrecy after attack that left victim critically hurt.

The accused men were arrested on Tuesday and appeared in court hours later. Photo / File
The accused men were arrested on Tuesday and appeared in court hours later. Photo / File

A top sportsman has appeared in court over a serious assault on a man at a bar.

But strict suppression orders prevent the publication of details that could identify the sportsman.

The Herald can reveal he is facing two charges of assaulting the man with intent to injure in December.

A relative of the man, with whom he lives, has been jointly charged and also has name suppression.

The accused men were arrested on Tuesday and appeared in court hours later. They each face two charges of assault with intent to injure.

Police confirmed the charges related to an incident in the early hours of December 30.

Soon after the alleged assault, a police spokesman told the Herald that the victim had suffered "serious cuts" to his neck and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. His condition later improved.

The accused pair were remanded on bail and will appear in court again next month.

The sportsman's appearance comes just days after two high-profile professional rugby players appeared in court.

On Monday, All Black and Hurricanes player Julian Savea appeared in the Wellington District Court charged with assaulting his partner, Dawn.

Savea, who fronted the "It's not OK" anti-domestic violence campaign last year, has a baby daughter with Dawn.

On Monday, he made a tearful public apology to her and the rest of his family. "I just want to say that I'm sorry to hurt someone that you love and care so much for," he said.

Yesterday, it emerged that Savea had made himself unavailable for the Hurricanes' game against the Stormers on Friday night. He has not trained with the team this week.

On Tuesday, the Herald revealed that Blues midfielder Francis Saili had appeared in the Manukau District Court charged with driving while suspended.

The 22-year-old was stopped on Auckland's Southwestern Motorway on April 12.

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan revealed Saili was allegedly caught driving after losing his licence because of speeding tickets. Sir John has dropped him from the starting line-up to face the Reds this weekend as a result of the charge, but Saili still has a place on the bench.

Sir John said Saili had apologised to the Blues.

"We just asked him to take more responsibility and make better decisions. He was disappointed, he apologised to the boys."

Following Savea's public fall from grace, New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew ordered an independent assessment of how the union treats its players, particularly young ones.

The move came after players' union boss Rob Nichol suggested rugby professionals were predisposed to suffering behavioural and mental challenges because of factors such as performance and selection anxiety, loneliness, relationship stress, substance abuse, stress and a lack of social support.

- NZ Herald

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