South East Wales

Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies criticised by judge

Jamie Roberts
Image caption Jamie Roberts was being rested as the case was to be held in Cardiff

Wales rugby stars Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies have been criticised by a judge for missing a case against a man accused of assaulting them.

But after the court hearing police said the players had co-operated and were not formally told they had to be there.

Earlier, District Judge John Charles told Cardiff Magistrates Court their absence gave the wrong impression that giving evidence was optional.

Daniel Richards was formally cleared of actual bodily harm and common assault.

The Welsh Rugby Union also claimed after the hearing that South Wales Police had told them that "their presence was not required".

A WRU spokesman went on: "Both players fully co-operated with the police investigation and appreciate the importance of attending court but neither was summonsed to give evidence.

"Both players supplied witness statements to South Wales Police concerning the incident which was under investigation.

"Both are extremely grateful for the efforts of South Wales Police in investigating this incident."

A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said later: "The two players have fully co-operated with the inquiry and were not formally told that their presence would be required in court."

British Lion and Cardiff Blues centre, Roberts, 24, was on a night out in Cardiff in February this year with fellow Wales player Davies when the pair were allegedly attacked.

Roberts was left with a cut lip following the incident in Greyfriars Road.

Davies is in the Wales squad to face the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday. Roberts is being rested.

'Extremely unsatisfactory'

Anne Mead, prosecuting, told the court: "The people concerned are international rugby players and are involved in what's deemed to be important training for their World Cup participation.

"Consideration was given to the possibility of issuing summons to secure their attendance but this was not considered appropriate."

The court was told the Crown Prosecution Service case against Mr Richards, 20, of Cyncoed, Cardiff, could not go ahead without the two witnesses.

Judge Charles asked: "What are these training requirements that take precedent over their public duty to give evidence?"

He said: "This is extremely unsatisfactory and it gives the wrong impression for the public at large.

"It is extremely inconvenient for the two witnesses not to attend court."

Angelo Gooden, defending, said: "Their reluctance, not inability to attend court is unacceptable.

"Their reason not to attend because they are too busy at their place of work, albeit international rugby, is not good enough."

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