Joseph Parker has defended his right to seek name suppression over allegations he was linked to a meth smuggling gang and insists the things said about him are “quite untrue”.
After an almost a two-year court fight, Joseph Parker was named as the high-profile sportsman alleged to have connections to an international drug syndicate that smuggled 20kgs of drugs into New Zealand through the post.
In a statement through his lawyer, Mike Heron QC, after his name was made public, the boxer said it didn’t feel right to have his name connected to the matters, and he had no chance to defend himself when the allegations were made.
Police said they tried to contact Parker on a number of occasions, but Heron told officers he would not give a statement.
Former world boxing champion Joseph Parker can finally be named as the high profile sportstar said to be linked to an international drugs ring.
The Crown repeatedly mentioned Parker’s name as it laid out its evidence in a 2019 trial of Tevita Matangi Fangupo, Tevita Sitanilei Kulu and Toni Rajendra Finau, who were later jailed.
The Crown claimed Parker was involved in helping transfer money for the syndicate, buying drugs from Finau and offered to source a supplier.
* Boxer Joseph Parker ‘helped shift cash for drugs’ but was never charged by police
* High profile sportsman allegedly linked to international drugs ring to be named
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* High-profile sportsman continues bid for name suppression
But while the police had a search warrant for Parker’s property, they did not execute it.
Parker was never charged and the Crown’s evidence against him has never been tested in court. He denies all the allegations.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled it was not in the interests of justice to allow Parker to appeal a decision that he could be named, and ruled his interim suppression order would lapse at 2pm on Friday.
On Tuesday night, the former WBO world champion left New Zealand to train in the United Kingdom.
With him out of the country, Heron fronted on Parker’s behalf, 90 minutes after suppression lifted.
Heron said the police would have charged his client, had they had enough proof.
“If there was relevant, reliable, credible evidence that there was offending by Mr Parker, they would have charged him,” Heron said.
In Friday’s earlier statement, Heron said Parker’s pursuit for continued name suppression had drawn to a close.
“Mr Parker and his legal team respectfully acknowledge and accept those decisions, whilst disagreeing with them,” Heron said.
Parker denied, on oath, any involvement with methamphetamine or any involvement with the importation of drugs.
“Despite the lack of evidence against him, unfounded allegations were made against Mr Parker in court.
JOSEPH PARKER BOXING
Former WBO world champion has flown to London to continue training.
“Those allegations were not supported by evidence, were unnecessary and were unfair. Unfortunately, those matters were beyond the control of Mr Parker,” Heron said.
“This has been going on for ages now, and it takes a toll,” Parker said.
“I haven’t been charged with anything, and it doesn’t feel right that my name will be connected to matters I’ve had no chance to defend myself against”.
Parker said he felt justified in pursuing legal protection.
“It’s a terrible position to be in,” he said.
“Things have been said about me that are quite untrue; some of them have already been proven untrue, and I was given no chance to respond at the time they were made.
“It’s caused a lot of stress and worry for myself and my family – and it just seems totally wrong.
“Having said that, I need to accept the decision and get on with my life. I have other fights to fight,” Parker said.
Just 10 days since boxing 12 rounds for a unanimous decision victory over fellow Kiwi Junior Fa (19-1) in Auckland, Parker left for London to link up with a new trainer, following his split from long-time mentor Kevin Barry.
The new trainer will be former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee, and it’s understood he was recommended to Parker by undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (30-0-1).
Lee is the second cousin of Fury and has already become a highly regarded trainer since his final fight in 2017. He will work with Parker for one fight but if they gel together the partnership will extend.