Japanese swimmer Naoya Tomita has pleaded not guilty to stealing a South Korean journalist's camera during the Asian Games, despite initially admitting to the crime after the incident took place in September.
The former world champion has appeared in a South Korean court, reading a statement asserting that "there is no truth that I stole the camera".
"I appeared as a representative of the Japanese team," he said.
"There is no way that I would do something stupid as committing a theft."
The 25-year-old initially admitted to taking the camera having been confronted by police with closed circuit television, which is said to prove that Tomita stole the camera.
The surveillance footage is likely to be used as evidence in the trial by the prosecution who maintain that Tomita is guilty of the incident.
Following the incident at the Asian Games, Tomita was expelled from the Japanese swimming team and suspended by the country's swimming federation for 18 months, additionally paying a fine of KRW₩1,000,000 (£540/$980/€745).
Tomita later retracted his confession, claiming that the camera had been placed in his bag by an unidentified person, with his lawyer stating that the crime was carried out by an individual with a vendetta against the Japanese team.
The Japanese swimmer has won 200 metres gold at both the World Short-Course Championships and the Asian Games in 2010.
His hearing is continuing in Incheon.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
October 2014: Japanese swimmer Tomita suspended for 18 months after stealing camera from journalist
October 2014: Japanese swimmer Tomita pays one million won fine after stealing camera from photographer
September 2014: Japanese swimmer expelled from Asian Games after stealing camera from journalist