Amanaki pleads not guilty to alleged assault on Timani

Super Rugby
by RUGBY.com.au staff

Former Rebels player Amanaki Mafi has plead not guilty assaulting ex-Melbourne teammate Lopeti Timani after a match in Dunedin in July, claiming he acted in self-defence.

Mafi, 28, was charged with intent to injure Timani after the pair spent the night drinking together following the Rebels' loss to the Highlanders.

Photos published in Australian newspapers showed Timani with extensive facial injuries.

The former Wallabies forward, who is now playing in France, told the Sydney Morning Herald he feared for his life after coming under an alleged physical attack from Mafi, which he said was prompted by him using bad language in front of a female at a south Dunedin residence.

"He was just punching me and he said 'because I'm telling you now I'm the man, I'm the man'. I thought they were going to kill me. I thought I was going to die," Timani told the Herald.

Timani said he eventually escaped the alleged assault by jumping out of a car and hiding in bushes.

Mafi was charged the next day, and the pair were both hit with $15,000 fines by the Rebels club for breaching team protocols

The matter came before the Dunedin District Court last month and Judge Kevin Phillips was told the parties were attempting to have a restorative justice conference.

But Mafi's defence counsel said they'd found it very difficult to contact Timani in France, and were thus required to attend court again on Tuesday.

Mafi was not in court as his lawyer entered a not guilty plea on Mafi's behalf and indicated he would seek a trial by jury, claiming self-defence.

The court was told Mafi and Timani would continue to try and meet for a restorative justice conference, however.

The judge remanded Mafi on bail until the case is heard in November.