NewsWire: Rings producer stands by security guards - The Evening Post

Rings producer stands by security guards
The Evening Post - August 19, 2000

An Upper Hutt man is considering legal action after he was allegedly twice assaulted by a security guard working on the $360 million The Lord of the Rings project.

But the project's producer Barrie Osborne on Saturday said the man wasn't assaulted and claimed it was possible he was trying to extort money.

Senior Wellington lawyer Bill Johnson said he received instructions from the man last weekend, shortly after the alleged assault on the afternoon of Friday August 11. He advised his client to lay a complaint with Upper Hutt police.

Mr Johnson said the complaint was laid earlier this week. The Evening Post has agreed not to name the man involved but it is not Alan Seymour, who appeared in the paper last week, also complaining of being threatened by the film's security guards.

Mr Johnson said his client had been walking on public walkways down the riverbank in Upper Hutt when he encountered a security guard. He alleges he was assaulted twice. Mr Johnson said he had seen the man's injuries, which included a cut to his face and swelling on the shin of one leg. The man received medical treatment and photographs were taken.

He said the man made a statement to police, who are also believed to have taken photographs of injuries. However, Upper Hutt police would not confirm that they have received a complaint. Mr Johnson said his client was considering civil action. He had a witness to the assaults.

Mr Osborne said he couldn't discuss what the man claimed happened to him because it was being investigated by police. But the film company stood by its security guard's version of events.

"I doubt very much the veracity of the story.

"In fact, I wonder if it might have been provoked by someone bringing an action against us to extort money," Mr Osborne said.

"We've been very thorough with our security guards and when we have found anyone acting inappropriately we have replaced them," he said.

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