Amanaki Mafi has been fined $50,000 but avoided a conviction after pleading guilty to assaulting ex-Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani.
The pair were out drinking after the Rebels’ 43-37 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin in July 2018 and were reportedly heavily intoxicated when they went back to a house in South Dunedin.
Mafi became angry after Timani used an offensive term to describe a female relative and challenged him to a fight.
Timani allegedly fled and hid in bushes nearby until Mafi found him, punched and kicked him and bundled him into the back of a vehicle.
Timani detailed in the wake of the incident that he feared for his life after the fight, which came after the pair went to the house of a family member of Mafi’s.
Mafi pleaded guilty to assault with intent and wrote a letter of apology, which counted in his favour during the ruling.
The judge acknowledged Mafi had no record of previous offending, said the attack was out of the defendant’s character and that he was remorseful about what had happened.
He ordered Mafi to pay $50,000 to the victim to cover medical and legal costs, but declined a conviction because it would have likely terminated Mafi’s playing career.
Mafi recently represented Japan at the World Cup.
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