• Kyodo


Australian rugby legend George Smith, who was arrested for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver on New Year’s Eve after refusing to pay his fare, has been released with a prosecutors’ decision on whether to indict him pending.

The Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court will continue investigations into the 37-year-old flanker, who played for the title-winning Suntory Sungoliath of the Japan Rugby Top League this season, which wrapped up last weekend.

Smith was arrested on Dec. 31 on suspicion of punching the 58-year-old male driver in the face and chest. The driver then pursued the rugby player after he allegedly fled without paying his ¥10,000 ($90) taxi fare in Fuchu, a Tokyo suburb. He was released Thursday.

According to police, Smith has told investigators he was drunk and does not remember what happened.

Suntory said in a statement it “again offers apologies to the victim and those involved.” The player has been staying at home and the club will later decide whether to allow him to play, the company said.

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