Rugby player given two-year ban for hitting another player

Rugby player Fenika Martini was banned after the assault.
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Rugby player Fenika Martini was banned after the assault.

Don't get into trouble again, on or off the sports field, a district court judge has warned a rugby player who punched another during a fight.

Wellington District Court judge Peter Hobbs was told that Fenika Martini, a 35-year-old painter from Miramar had been banned from playing rugby for 40 games - or two years - by the rugby union.

"So he should be," was his response on Wednesday.

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Martini had pleaded guilty  to assaulting a man on June 25.

He had been playing at the St Pat's College artificial sports ground in Wellington. He played a first grade rugby game for Marist St Pat's against Tawa.

The game had just finished when two players from the opposing teams started fighting and another man stepped into to stop the fight.

As the players separated Martini punched the victim once on the side of the head, knocking him unconscious, Hunt said.

The victim was concussed.

Martini's lawyer Ken Ah Kuoi said his client believed he was going to be punched so had hit out first.

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The victim, who declined to provide a victim impact statement to the court, has been satisfied with the rugby union's response and had not sought for the criminal charges to continue, the judge said.

He said that, and the fact Martini had no previous convictions, persuaded him to sentence Martini to a suspended sentence.  If he got into trouble within six months, the police could bring the charge back to be resentenced.

The judge said he had considered carefully whether Martini should get community work because violence on the sports field needed to be deterred and denounced.

 - Stuff

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