Ex-All Black rugby player Mils Muliaina cleared of sexual assault in Cardiff


Former New Zealand rugby union international Mils Muliaina has been cleared of sexual assault.

Proceedings against the 35-year-old World Cup winner were dropped after Cardiff Crown Court heard there was not enough evidence.

Mr Muliaina had been accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in Cardiff city centre in March.

The following month the All Blacks legend was arrested by police moments after a European Challenge Cup quarter-final match.

Defending counsel John Charles Rees QC said the Crown's case against his client had been "outrageous".

He said: "He is a professional athlete whose reputation has been reduced while the complainant remains anonymous.

"The allegation was that her bottom had been fleetingly touched on a busy nightclub dance floor.

"He has denied doing anything wrong from beginning to end."

Speaking outside the court, an emotional Mr Muliaina said the past seven months had been difficult for him and his family.

"It's been incredibly frustrating not to be able to publicly comment about it," he said. "While I understand the police have a job to do, the manner in which I was arrested I find difficult to understand.

"I can still hold my head up high and as the judge said this is no stain on my character. I have always known that I did not do anything wrong."

The 107-cap international, who now plays for Italian side Zebre, said he was looking forward to getting on with his life and plans to return home to New Zealand to see his son next week.

He added: "When I first found out the charges were going to be withdrawn I instantly thought of my son - he should have never have had to go through this.

"I'm looking forward to going back home and spending some time with him and wishing him a happy birthday."

The rugby star offered no thoughts about the woman who had made a complaint against him.

He said: "I don't even know her and I don't know what happened, but I wasn't the person who had done what she said had happened."

Mr Muliaina's solicitor, Matthew De Maid, said the defence would be applying for costs in the case.