Japan Top League
Jerry Collins released from jail in Japan
ESPN Staff
March 27, 2013
New Zealand's Jerry Collins exploits a gap, New Zealand v Italy, Rugby World Cup, Telstra Dome, Melbourne, Australia, October 11, 2003
Jerry Collins won 48 Test caps for New Zealand between 2001 and 2007 © Getty Images
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Former All Blacks forward Jerry Collins has been released from jail in Japan.

The 32-year-old, who won 48 Test caps for New Zealand between 2001 and 2007, was arrested in the city of Hamamatsu ten days ago for carrying two large knives 'without a valid reason'. Reports initially suggested he could face a prison sentence if found guilty but his lawyer Tim Castle has revealed he has now been released having paid a fine of ¥150,000 (£1,046)

"The authorities in Japan have accepted that this was a minor indiscretion, and that there were extenuating circumstances for the possession, and that there was neither sinister nor threatening purpose,'' Castle said in a statement.

"Jerry's good character with no previous blemish was also accepted as was his community and public service in New Zealand," added Castle, who also stated Collins was ''very pleased the ordeal is over and he can put it all behind him."

Collins, who played for the Hurricanes, Ospreys and Toulon before moving to Japan to play for the Yamaha Jubilo club in 2011, entered a department store on March 17 and placed two 17cm knives on top of a counter, before security staff called the police with reports it took more than 30 police officers to take him into custody.

Earlier this week, Collins told TV3's Campbell Live programme that a "misunderstanding" with a "gang" had escalated suddenly and dramatically to the point where threats were reportedly made against his life and so he armed himself as a form of protection.

On the day of the arrest he thought he was being followed and entered the store thinking he would be safe around a large group of people. Collins also stated that he was relieved when he was arrested and taken to the local police station where he was held until his release.

Collins, who is set to leave Japan having come to the end of his current contract, also captained the All Blacks on three occasion and APNZ reports that New Zealand rugby and All Blacks management provided letters of support. "All of those supporting Jerry Collins spoke of his qualities and his service as an elite athlete who had represented his country with distinction,'' said Castle.

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