Former NRL rising star Manase Fainu has been jailed for at least four years and three months for stabbing a church youth leader outside a Mormon charity event in Sydney.
The former Manly Sea Eagles hooker was found guilty in August of injuring Faamanu Levi with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in Wattle Grove late in the evening of October 25, 2019.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Manase Fainu jailed for stabbing but will appeal.
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In his testimony before the Parramatta District Court jury, he denied having been the stabber and said that when he heard “knife, knife” he ran away fearing for his own safety.
The jury took about two hours to reach their verdict.
Judge Nanette Williams on Friday jailed him for eight years with a non-parole period of four years and three months.
He will be eligible for parole for the first time on October 30, 2026.
The judge found no sign of remorse but said he had good prospects for rehabilitation.
His attorney, Margaret Cunneen SC, previously said Fainu would appeal “the perverse verdict in light of the evidence.”
A witness said he saw Fainu stab Levi in the back with a steak knife during the parking lot brawl, citing that he looked angry and was carrying a slingshot.
The jury was told the footballer had recently undergone shoulder surgery and that evening had his arm in a sling.
The stabbing came after an earlier fight on the dance floor at the alcohol-free charity event organized by The Church of Latter-day Saints.
The jury was told Fainu and a friend named “Big Buck” were involved in the fight and were led outside by Levi, who told them not to fight on church grounds.
CCTV footage showed Fainu with a white towel over his head and his four friends jumping over a fence and into a parking lot where the fight with Levi happened.
He told the jury the white towel over his head was a “security blanket” doused with cold water because he had a headache, not to hide his identity.
When Cunneen unsuccessfully petitioned to keep him on bail after the verdict, she said her client suffered serious mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, as a result of the trial and the verdict.
She said he was seen as a promising rugby league player in 2018 who was on course to earn a massive salary to support his parents and eight surviving siblings.
This was all removed when he was charged, due to National Rugby League policy of no blame.
“This is a man who has suffered a tremendous downfall, an unthinkable downfall in what he expected in 2019,” she said.
https://7news.com.au/sport/rugby-league/former-manly-star-manase-fainu-jailed-for-stabbing-church-youth-leader-set-to-appeal-perverse-verdict-c-9040519 Former Manly star Manase Fainu has been jailed for stabbing the church’s youth leader and is set to appeal the “perverse verdict”.