S.R.U. confident Losi Filipo has “learnt his lesson”
The Samoa Rugby Union is standing by its decision to select, Losi Filipo, in the Manu Samoa Sevens, just over three years after he was re-sentenced for what the judge called “a chilling act of violence” in New Zealand.
The 21-year-old has been selected in the Manu Samoa 7s squad for the Oceania Sevens in November, and will travel with the team to Fiji on Saturday.
Back in 2016, he twice pleaded guilty to charges of assault against four people, two of whom were women.
Initially, Filipo had been discharged without conviction in the Wellington District Court, a decision met with public outcry.
The police appealed, and in the High Court Filipo was sentenced to nine months supervision, ordered to attend both alcohol counselling and a course on living without violence.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Samoa Rugby Union said they have always been aware of the incident.
“Filipo has paid the price for his actions and served the penalty handed down by the Court and as far as we are concerned this young man wants to move on and make amends,” said S.R.U. C.E.O., Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i.
“We are confident he has learnt his lesson and we want to give him all the support as a rugby player and as a responsible member of the community.”
Stuff reported that High Court Justice David Collins said the stomping on one victim's head was "a chilling act of violence that could easily have led to his death".
“In the attack in central Wellington in October 2015, Filipo grabbed his first victim, Greg Morgan, by the collar, punched him towards his head, knocking him unconscious. While Morgan was on the ground, he stomped on him about four times, causing injuries including concussion, grazing and bruising,” Stuff reported.
Filipo’s Wellington Lions contract was eventually terminated as well, although he has since returned to the Mitre 10 Cup stage.
A Samoan Under-20 international in 2017, Filipo made a New Zealand sevens development team in February 2019, but has committed his international rugby future to Samoa.