Wellington: Two men charged with assaulting New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder were remanded on bail when they appeared in court on Thursday. A 37-year-old man was charged with assault and a reckless disregard for Ryder's safety, while his nephew aged 20 faced two charges of assault at Christchurch District Court.
Both were granted name suppression at their lawyer's request, though some New Zealand media outlets had previously named them. Police didn't oppose the continuation of bail and Judge Gary MacAskill remanded them to April 18.
The men's lawyer, Jonathan Eaton, said publication of the names or images of the men could jeopardize a fair trial. He said witness accounts already published by the media were "wildly inaccurate and misleading" and his case would hinge on "who is alleged to have done what."
Eaton said although police are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident, their inquiries were continuing and the defense had not yet been able to study CCTV footage of the late-night incident outside a Christchurch bar.
He disputed media reports that Ryder suffered a fractured skull and a punctured lung in the assault and said Ryder had suffered concussion as result of falling to the ground after being punched once. The police summary of facts in the case described a fight and, a short time later, one punch.
Ryder was released from Christchurch hospital and returned to his home in Wellington on Wednesday, less than a week after an assault that initially left him with critical injuries and in an induced coma.
Police had previously told media that Ryder was involved in an altercation with two men outside a bar in the Christchurch suburb of Merivale and was assaulted a short time later after crossing the road to the carpark of a fast food restaurant. He suffered his injuries in the second incident.
Eaton said Ryder had shared drinks with the two men accused of assaulting him and the atmosphere had been "highly convivial" but that a dispute later arose.
Ryder had been socializing with members of his Wellington provincial team which had played a semifinal of New Zealand's domestic one-day competition. He was assaulted as he left the bar about 12.30am on March 28.
The accused men turned themselves into police shortly afterwards. The older man was described in court documents as a builder and the young man as a carpet layer.