Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Ryder assault accused appear in court

Jesse Ryder shared a drink with two men accused of attacking him moments before he was allegedly assaulted, a court heard today.

Witness reports over the high-profile incident involving the star cricketer outside a Christchurch bar last week were "wildly inaccurate and misleading", a lawyer for one of the men said.

Reports of a "Jesse hate crime" were grossly inaccurate, the court heard.

The accused pair, aged 20 and 37, appeared in the dock at Christchurch District Court at the post-quake temporary Nga Hau e Wha Marae venue this morning.

They had been out for a family dinner when they bumped into the famous sportsman.

There was a dispute which came after a meeting that started out as "highly convivial", with drinks being shared, said defence counsel Jonathan Eaton , appearing for the older man.

Both men, from Christchurch, were today granted interim name suppression.

The 37-year-old has been charged with assaulting Ryder and also with reckless disregard for the safety of others injuring Ryder.

The younger man, his nephew, is facing two charges of assault, one in connection with the older man.

Charge sheets say the older man is a builder while the younger man is a carpet layer. They both live at the same city address.

They were both well-dressed today, the older man wearing a tie, the younger in a suit with shirt buttoned all the way up.

Ryder, 28 was punched and kicked outside Aikmans bar in Merivale, Christchurch, early last Thursday after a season's end night out with his Wellington Firebirds' teammates.

He suffered head and lung injuries and after spending two days in an induced coma at Christchurch Hospital is now recuperating at his Wellington home.

Ryder is back on his feet and recovering well, his manager Aaron Klee says.

But today, the court heard that witness reports that it was an unexpected and unprovoked incident were wrong.

Mr Eaton said Ryder did not suffer a fractured skull or collapsed lung in the attack.

The police summary of facts describes a fight and a short time later, one punch.

Ryder's injuries came as a consequence of falling to the ground, "after being punched once", he said.

Mr Eaton and Adam Couchman, defence counsel for the nephew, asked for their clients to be given interim name and image suppression.

If the men had their photographs published it could jeopardise a fair trial, which Mr Eaton said hinged on "who is alleged to have done what".

Police prosecutor sergeant Neil Williams agreed with him.

Judge MacAskill granted suppression and remanded the pair on bail, with conditions not to enter licensed premises between 7pm and 7am, not to drink alcohol, and not to associate with Ryder or witnesses, until April 18.

An argument over suppression would be held at a later date.

Police inquiries were ongoing, he said, and he had not been able to yet view the CCTV footage of the alleged incident.

Outside court, Mr Eaton refused to elaborate on what was said inside court.

"Everyone has to understand that once charges have been laid there's only place that these issues are properly resolved, that's in the court, and that's where they will be resolved," he said.

However, on behalf of his client he wished "Mr Ryder a very full and speedy recovery".

No one answered the door at Ryder's large Kelson property in Lower Hutt this morning.

Neighbours said they had not seen the cricket star since his return home.


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