Trial date set for former Rebels' assault case

Amanaki Mafi in Dunedin District Court last month. Photo: Rob Kidd
Amanaki Mafi in Dunedin District Court last month. Photo: Rob Kidd
An international rugby player accused of beating his teammate will stand trial next year.

Amanaki Lelei Mafi (29) allegedly attacked fellow forward Lopeti Timani in South Dunedin after their then team the Melbourne Rebels lost to the Highlanders in July last year.

The Japanese international was charged with injuring with intent to injure, on July 15 last year, and within days photos emerged of the complainant sporting two black eyes on his return to Australia.

The case has been repeatedly called before the Dunedin District Court for a trial date to be found but the Rugby World Cup in September had provided a hurdle.

This morning, Judge Crosbie set a trial date of January 27.

“It's not rugby season and the World Cup's over,” he said.

Lopeti Timani. Photo: Getty
Lopeti Timani. Photo: Getty Images
Defence counsel Anne Stevens QC said some time was needed to put arrangements in place to get Mafi and Timani to New Zealand.

“The complication is, they have to apply [for a visa] through their own countries, not our country,” she said.

Mafi is currently on bail in Japan and his appearance was excused for today's hearing.

Timani is currently in La Rochelle, France.

The pair were each fined $A15,000 by the Melbourne Rebels club 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 at the time. 



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