Ex-AB on alleged assault: ‘I’m simply a victim’

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One of two men accused of assaulting Justin Marshall in Queenstown claims the ex-All Black threw the first punch – but Marshall vows he’s not to blame.
 
Two Christchurch men – Adam David Kearns, 23, and Tai Samuel Neilson, 25 – have been charged with assaulting Marshall with intent to injure him after an incident on Good Friday last week. 

Marshall, speaking to Mountain Scene yesterday before it was due to come up in Queenstown District Court, says: “Basically what happened…it’s not my fault. 

“I’m simply a victim – but probably as a victim no one gives a toss about [publicising] the victim until you’ve got a name like mine,” Marshall says. 

Kearns, speaking to Radio New Zealand last night, claims Marshall threw the first punch. 

“I was out for my birthday, he got cheeky and it went from there,” Kearns alleges to Radio NZ. 

“It was a tit-for-tat situation, it wasn’t just me. Just because he’s got a big name doesn’t mean he should get off scot-free for throwing the first hit, you know.” 

Radio NZ: “So [Marshall] punched you?” 

Kearns: “Yes, course he punched me. I punched him as well.” 

Radio NZ: “You’ll be pleading not guilty? 

Kearns: “I don’t know as of yet – it depends, if the police are going to drop it to common assault I’ll probably take it on the grounds that he’s charged with the same charge. 

“But if they’re not prepared to charge him as well, I’ll be defending it.” 

Marshall, a Sky rugby commentator who played 81 Tests as halfback, wouldn’t discuss it further yesterday morning, saying he’d be applying to keep his name out of it. 

Court registrar Fiona Hutchins declined Marshall’s name suppression bid yesterday afternoon and granted bail to the two accused. 

Kearns and Neilson, of Christchurch, must reside at their home addresses and stick to a curfew between 9pm and 6am daily. 

Hutchins: “They are not to consume alcohol or drugs and are not to associate with the complainant Justin Marshall.”

The accused pair are scheduled to appear in Queenstown District Court to make a plea on May 19. 

No further details of the alleged Good Friday incident were revealed in court. 

It’s been a busy few days for Marshall – last week he launched a new business, the Auckland-based franchise of Aussie-founded Coast to Coast the Golden Roast, a mobile spit-roast venture. 

Marshall says he’ll be looking at bringing it to Queenstown but the deep south franchise might be based in Invercargill or Alexandra. 

Radio NZ also reported Kearns’ mum is Helen Milner who was imprisoned last year after being found guilty of murdering her husband Philip Nisbet. 

EMAIL: ryan.keen@scene.co.nz