Former NRL star Manase Fainu loses appeal over Mormon church knife attack

A former NRL star found guilty of stabbing a church youth leader outside a Mormon charity dance in Sydney’s southwest has learnt his fate after a daring bid to overturn his sentence.

Manase Vehikite Am Fainu was sentenced last year to at least four years and three months behind bars after he was found guilty at trial of wounding with intent to cause bodily harm.

The former Manly Sea Eagles hooker denies stabbing Faamanu Levi outside the alcohol-free event organised by the Church of the Latter Day Saints at Wattle Grove in October 2019.

Fainu did not appear via AVL on Friday at the Supreme Court of NSW where the court was told justices Mark Leeming, Natalie Adams and Hament Dhanji had dismissed his appeal.

The court was told last year that Fainu had been an up-and-coming NRL star with Manly before he was stood down by the league after charges were laid in 2019.

An eyewitness told jurors at Parramatta District Court they had seen Fainu plunge s steak knife into Mr Levi, puncturing his lungs and causing internal bleeding, during the brawl.

Fainu and at least four mates were involved in the fracas, with video displayed to the court at trial showing the group jump into the church grounds from the adjoining Coles carpark.

The 24-year-old’s barrister, Mike Smith, last month called into question whether Fainu had been in possession of the knife at the time of the stabbing or if it could have been someone else.

Crown prosecutor Emma Curran refuted that suggestion, highlighting that two witnesses had identified Fainu as being the stabber due in part to him being in a sling at the time.

More to come

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