Rebels may have to meet after Dunedin incident

Amanaki Mafi in Dunedin District Court last month. Photo: Rob Kidd
Amanaki Mafi in Dunedin District Court last month. Photo: Rob Kidd
A Melbourne Rebels rugby star accused of beating up his teammate may sit down with him for a restorative justice conference.


Amanaki Lelei Mafi was arrested after an alleged attack on fellow forward Lopeti Timani in South Dunedin following his side's loss to the Highlanders and subsequent exit from the Super Rugby competition last month.

The 28-year-old Japanese international was charged with injuring with intent to injure, and within days photos emerged of the complainant sporting two black eyes on his return to Australia.

Mafi is currently on bail in Japan and was excused from appearing in the Dunedin District Court when his case was called this morning.

Lopeti Timani. Photo: Getty Images
Lopeti Timani. Photo: Getty Images
Defence counsel Anne Stevens requested Judge Kevin Phillips vary her client's bail which barred him from all contact with Timani.

Mrs Stevens told the court there was the possibility the pair  would participate in a restorative justice conference and there had been discussions through intermediaries to that effect.

The judge granted the variation so the players could have contact - but only if that was overseen by the officer in charge of the case, Detective Mark Durant.

Mafi remained on bail until the next court hearing which would take place in two weeks.

The pair were each fined $A15,000 ($NZ16,300)  as a result of the late-night episode, for breaching team protocols and management instructions.

"Notwithstanding that both Amanaki Mafi and Lopeti Timani were finishing at the Rebels this season and heading overseas to continue their playing careers, it is only appropriate, given the seriousness of the incident, to sanction both players with a significant fine," Melbourne Rebels chief executive officer Baden Stephenson said.

"The actions of these two players is totally contrary to our club's values and has tarnished the excellent work of so many in the club, both on and off the field this season.

"I only hope that both Amanaki and Lopeti genuinely reflect on and learn from this very troubling incident.”

Rugby Australia is conducting its own investigation into the incident. 

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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