Corey Webster drives to the basket for the NZ Breakers against the Perth Wildcats.
Corey Webster drives to the basket for the NZ Breakers against the Perth Wildcats. TONY MCDONOUGH

Breakers star charged with assault

BASKETBALL: New Zealand Breakers basketball player Corey Webster has been suspended for one game after he was charged with assault following an incident at an Auckland bar.

Police were called to reports of a fight at the Takapuna Bar about 12.30am on Wednesday (local time) and later said a 28-year-old man had been charged with assault, with the Breakers confirming in a statement that Webster had been arrested.

A police spokeswoman said the victim was not seriously injured and the accused had been bailed to appear in the North Shore District Court on Monday, a day after the Breakers' trip to Melbourne in the NBL.

A statement released by the Breakers said the club was backing Webster but had decided to suspend him for a "breach of team and club values”.

"That police investigation and the fact that Corey will appear before the court means there are limits as to what we can say or add to the situation,” the statement by Breakers general manger Dillon Boucher said.

"However, the club has done its best to investigate what occurred and to gather as much information as we can; we have done little else over the past 24 hours. This is the very least of our responsibilities to the team and coaching staff, to our fans and to all of our stakeholders and indeed to Corey himself.

"At this time I would like to stress that Corey maintains his innocence of the charge and will defend himself vigorously through the court process. We will assist the police and the courts and Corey though this process and allow due process to play out.

"However, the club has found reason to suspend Corey for his actions, not for the charge alleged by the police that he maintains his innocence from - that is as I mentioned for the courts to decide - but in his breach of our team and club values, totally separate to and having no bearing on the alleged assault charge.

"Specifically this refers to decisions made around how best to recover from a road trip last weekend and at the same time prepare for our next game on Friday against Illawarra. Being out until after midnight is not in the best interests of the team. Corey has also breached our values in the way in which he has communicated with the club about the incident on Tuesday night.

"You will know that amongst our values at this club are honesty and courage. In our view Corey has let himself, his teammates and the club down in the way in which he has handled the situation. He has not lived up to the 'one team' value that we have at the club.

"It has been decided that he will be suspended for one game, effective immediately, with Corey to miss this Friday's clash with the Illawarra Hawks at the North Shore Events Centre. This hurts the team, it hurts us as a club, but most importantly this will hurt Corey and should serve to reinforce the need for all of us to make good decisions in everything we do.”

The charge completed a forgettable birthday week for Webster, who turned 28 on Tuesday.

The New Zealand representative was also charged on Wednesday for an in-game offence during the Breakers' loss in Cairns on Sunday, having been found to have made unreasonable contact with the face of an opponent.

Webster faces a one-game suspension for that incident - or a $500 fine with an early guilty plea.


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