An injuring with intent charge was dropped against former Breakers player Glen Rice Jr while he was abroad with “no plans to return under the pandemic environment”.
And a court document reveals the 29-year-old American’s altercation was with a professional rugby player from Australia and was captured on CCTV.
According to the document, CCTV points to the complainant antagonising Rice outside an Auckland bar in the early hours of November 14, 2019.
Rice, who has previously played for the NBA team the Washington Wizards, responded with a couple of punches that drew blood.
“The punches resulted in some facial bleeding and as far as police are aware no long term injury,” the court document, seen by the Herald, reads.
Rice, a second-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft, had joined the New Zealand team just 10 days prior to the alleged assault.
He was added to the lineup as an injury replacement for Scotty Hopson.
But Rice was suspended after his arrest having played in just two games for the side.
The nearly 2m-tall swingman pleaded not guilty to injuring with intent and requested a judge alone trial.
Weeks later Rice was in trouble again after allegedly breaching his bail conditions.
The Breakers then ended his contract.
The Herald reported in June that while on bail the 29-year-old had been allowed to return to the United States.
That put him in Texas during the global coronavirus pandemic.
An Auckland District Court judge was left in the unusual position of continuing his bail without forcing him to comply with its conditions.
Court proceedings were then felled altogether when on September 23 a joint memorandum was filed by police and Rice’s lawyer Peter Tomlinson.
“The defendant has returned to the United States and has no plans to return under the pandemic environment,” the document reads.
“The complainant has returned to Australia and has not responded to the officer in charges’ extensive efforts to contact him.
“Under these circumstances could not proceed to a judge-alone trial with any confidence.”
Both the prosecution and defence asked for the charge to be withdrawn.
A police spokeswoman confirmed they were aware these matters had been withdrawn.
This was due to the fact despite “significant efforts” from police to engage with the complainant, they had been unable to get hold of him, she said.
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