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Former All Black in French court over domestic violence accusations

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Jan 2024, 7:47AM
Byron Kelleher played 57 tests for New Zealand from 1999 to 2007.
Byron Kelleher played 57 tests for New Zealand from 1999 to 2007.

Former All Black in French court over domestic violence accusations

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Jan 2024, 7:47AM

Former All Blacks halfback Byron Kelleher will appear in a French court today after being accused of domestic violence by his former partner. 

French newspaper Le Parisien reports the 47-year-old faces alleged domestic violence offences. 

According to his former partner, Kelleher was “verbally and physically violent” in 2015 after she gave birth to their son and ended the relationship. After returning to France in 2022 to reconnect with his son, she claims abuse continued. 

“About a month after his return to France, Mr Kelleher’s violence resumed,” the victim said in a statement. “He regularly consumes alcohol and in large quantities. 

“For no valid reason, he repeatedly insults me, pushes me, pins me against the wall, punches me and strangles me.” 

Kelleher denies the allegations and says he has “not touched her”. 

The former All Black, who won 57 caps between 1999 and 2007, had dealt with the French law in 2009 following a brawl that occurred in Toulouse after a collision while driving drunk. He was also briefly taken into custody in October 2013 for “driving while intoxicated” in Bordeaux. 

In 2017, Kelleher was found guilty of domestic violence in France. At the time he was accused of causing damage to the front door where he lived while intoxicated and attacking his then-partner. His lawyer described the incident as a “lovers’ quarrel” and Kelleher was fined $300. 

Kelleher made his All Blacks debut in 1999 after impressing for the Highlanders at Super Rugby level. He played 57 tests for New Zealand from 1999 to 2007 as he regularly battled Justin Marshall for the starting halfback spot. 

Following the 2007 Rugby World Cup, he left New Zealand to take on a contract with French side Toulouse before joining Stade Francais in 2011. He retired from all rugby in 2012. 

FAMILY VIOLENCE

How to get help:
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people. Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you. Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.
Where to go for help or more information:
 Women's Refuge: Crisis line - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 (available 24/7)
 Shine: Helpline - 0508 744 633 (available 24/7)
 It's Not Ok: Family violence information line - 0800 456 450
 Shakti: Specialist services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and children.
• Crisis line - 0800 742 584 (available 24/7)
 Ministry of Justice: For information on family violence
 Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga: National Network of Family Violence Services
 White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women.
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