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Thatscricket - News - Australian charged with blackmail to cover-up incident

Published: Thursday, January 9, 2003, 0:48 [IST]
 
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Sydney: An Australian businessman tried to blackmail the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) by claiming bowler Shane Warne stole a kiss from his 16-year-old niece in a public street, a court heard on Wednesday.Christopher Kent, 45, who lives in Queensland state in Eastern Australia, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court charged with trying to blackmail the ACB for 5,000 Australian Dollars ($ 2,850) and for using a telephone to cause menace.In January last year, the girl and several friends reportedly pursued Australian cricketers Warne, Australia's premier spin bowler, and pace bowler Brett Lee in a car on the Gold Coast tourist strip until the pair pulled over in their sports car.The court heard Kent told the ACB Warne subsequently kissed the girl and he demanded money to keep silent about the incident.Police said there was no evidence to support the allegation against Warne, who has described it as an attempt to cash in on his fame.Defence lawyer Jason Murakami said Kent maintained his innocence and would vigorously defend the charges.The case is due back in court March 5.Warne is the second-greatest wicket-taker in Test cricket but is currently nursing a shoulder injury.

AFP
Copyright AFP 2001

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