All Black star Nonu escapes alcohol charge

Just days after celebrated Wallaby wing Lote Tuqiri was banned and fine for failing a breathalyzer test, it is reported that across the Tasman sea All Black and Hurricanes star Ma’a Nonu escaped conviction for his second alcohol-related offence.

According to a report in The Dominion Post newspaper Nonu was granted “diversion” for a second time.

According to the newspaper police denied he has received special treatment because of his celebrity status, saying it was not worth the expense of prosecuting him because the charge was minor.

The 104-kilogram midfielder, who has played 18 tests, was charged after breaching Wellington’s liquor ban on July 1 in Cambridge Tce.

A bylaw prevents the consumption or possession of alcohol in public places within the central city between 5pm and 8am every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

A Wellington District Court registrar confirmed Nonu had appeared yesterday but said the charge was withdrawn because he had completed diversion.

Nonu has twice benefited from the police diversion scheme, created to prevent first-time offenders getting a conviction for minor charges.

Though diversion is usually granted only once, police say it is not unheard of to receive it twice for minor charges.

In 2004, Nonu was charged with disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest after a scuffle outside a bar in Courtenay Place.

He initially defended the charges till police withdrew the resisting charge and granted him diversion for disorderly behaviour.

District prosecution coordinator Senior Sergeant Marc May said Nonu had paid a donation to the Salvation Army in the latest diversion deal, following an application from his lawyer, Tim Castle.

“It really wasn’t worth the powder and shot. It’s just not worth wasting the public purse having people go through court when diversion is applicable.”

May dismissed suggestions that Nonu had received special treatment because he was an All Black and a conviction might have prevented him playing international rugby.

“If I thought there was any reason he shouldn’t be granted diversion he wouldn’t have got it, no matter who he was.”

Other All Blacks who have sidestepped convictions include Sitiveni Sivivatu, who assaulted his wife; Sione Lauaki, who assaulted a man in Hamilton; and a player who assaulted and dragged his pregnant wife along the ground and received permanent name suppression.

 

365 Digital

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