Rugby star Alesana Tuilagi charged with Dublin assault

Newcastle Falcons player arrived in Ireland by appointment to face three-year-old charge

Alesana Tuilagi, right, in action against Leinster during the European Cup quarter-final match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, April 9th, 2011. Photograph: Getty Images

Alesana Tuilagi, right, in action against Leinster during the European Cup quarter-final match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, April 9th, 2011. Photograph: Getty Images

Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 19:34

A Samoan rugby player has been charged at a Dublin court with a serious assault in the city centre more than three years ago.

Alesana Tuilagi (33), who plays for the Newcastle Falcons in the UK’s Premiership league, had met with gardaí today by appointment.

Mr Tuilagi was formally charged with seriously assaulting a man on Dublin’s Harcourt Street in April, 2011.

Judge John O’Neill remanded the accused on bail and was told gardaí were in possession of CCTV from the night in question.

Wearing a blue hoodie top, shorts and flip-flops, the rugby player observed the proceedings, but did not address the court.

Detective Inspector Tony Howard told the court he had met the accused by appointment at Oscar Traynor Road in Dublin. There he was arrested on foot of a warrant that had been issued in September, 2011 and was subsequently brought to Coolock garda station.

He was charged yesterday afternoon and was handed a copy of the charge sheet but made no response to gardaí afterwards.

Although Mr Tuilagi is based in England, the court granted cash bail with no objection from gardaí as the accused had met them by appointment.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed summary disposal of the case at District Court level, rather than in a higher court, although Inspector Howard said he wished to speak to the DPP’s office to confirm those directions.

Judge O’Neill remanded Mr Tuilagi on bail to appear again in October, and ordered that statements and CCTV footage be disclosed to his lawyers.

He also ordered the preparation of a medical report in time for the next court appearance.

Alesana Tuilagi is a well known rugby player who has been capped dozens of times for his native Samoa.

Last year he moved from Leicester Tigers, where he had been playing as a winger for eight years, to his current team at Newcastle.

According to reports today, Mr Tuilagi initially met with gardaí at Dublin Airport this morning where he arrived following the issuing of a European arrest warrant to bring him to Ireland for questioning.