Losi Filipo could land in jail after the High Court at Wellington on Thursday afternoon overturned the rugby player’s discharge without conviction.
Justice David Collins said in his decision that District Court Judge Bruce Davidson erred in sentencing the 18-year-old for assault.
Davison did not fully appreciate the rugby player’s role as instigator and his stomping on Gregory Morgan's including when he was already unconscious, Stuff
“Those stomps were particularly serious and occurred when Gregory Morgan was already unconscious,” said Collins, according to The New Zealand Herald
“This is the most disturbing aspect of Losi Filipo's behaviour. It was potentially lethal conduct and required specific consideration,” Justice Collins said.
The justice also noted that Davidson erred in his judgment of the seriousness of the offending.
“I am satisfied Judge Davidson erred when he overlooked relevant matters relating to the gravity of Losi Filipo's offending,” the judge said, referring to Filipo being the instigator, him stomping on Morgan’s head including when the victim was unconscious and the serious consequences for the victims.
Filipo pleaded guilty to the assault, which happened one early morning in October last year, after he was made aware that a guilty plea would result in a discharge without conviction.
Because of this, Collins said he would let the teen vacate his guilty plea and have a retrial at the District Court if he so wanted. Typically, the judge said he would replace the District Court’s decision with his own decision.
Justice Collins also allowed an appeal by the Crown of Filipo’s sentence and said the starting point for a prison term in the case should be increased.
“A starting point of two and a half years' imprisonment would be unimpeachable,” Collins noted after the Crown took issue with Davidson’s starting point of one and a half years in jail.
Justice Collins also said that “It is the conduct of Losi Filipo and not simply whether or not he is convicted that is the key consideration for rugby administrators and future employers.”
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