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Eyewitness gives account of Manly NRL star Manase Fainu allegedly stabbing Mormon church leader

Manly star Manase Fainu was not content after stabbing a church youth leader in the back puncturing his lung, and continued to swing the blade and cut his eyebrow, a jury was told.

Crown prosecutor Emma Curran in her closing address in the Parramatta District Court on Tuesday said a witness was asked whether Fainu had ‘started the fight,’ that evening.

‘No, but he ended it,’ Ms Curran recalled Tony Quach saying.

‘That is precisely what happened,’ the court was told.

Manase Fainu arrives at the Parramatta District Court on August 9 for his trial over an alleged stabbing

Fainu, 24, has pleaded not guilty to wounding Faamanu Levi with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Wattle Grove late at night on October 25, 2019.

Ms Curran told the court the Manly Sea Eagles player and his friends had been kicked out of an event organised by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following a fight on the dancefloor.

Fainu later scaled a fence to get back in, followed by four of his friends who approached Mr Levi and began a brawl, she said.

Faamanu Levi, who was severely injured after a stabbing, leaves Parramatta District Court on July 27

Faamanu Levi, who was severely injured after a stabbing, leaves Parramatta District Court on July 27

‘When things looked like they were getting out of hand, Mr Fainu pulled out a knife and plunged it into the back of Mr Levi, causing a wound that punctured his lung and caused internal bleeding.

‘Not content with having stabbed him once … (Fainu) moved around to the front of Mr Levi and swung the knife upwards towards (his) face cutting him across the eyebrow.

‘Then he ran back to the car,’ the court was told.

Manase Fainu has played 24 matches for the Manly Sea Eagles since making his debut in 2018

Manase Fainu has played 24 matches for the Manly Sea Eagles since making his debut in 2018

Ms Curran submitted that Mr Quach gave impressive, persuasive evidence in painstaking detail.

‘He told you … that he clearly saw the accused’s face, his left arm in a sling and that the accused looked angry.’

Mr Quach told the court he saw Fainu holding a knife in his right hand with a clenched fist and elbow bent at 90 degrees before Mr Quach pushed him saying ‘get out,’ causing him to stumble.

After Mr Quach reverted his attention to the melee, where a ‘big guy’ was punching his friend, he told the court he saw Fainu plunge the knife into Mr Levi’s back.

Tony Quach has been a key witness for the prosecution in the trial

Tony Quach has been a key witness for the prosecution in the trial

Mr Quach had a clear, unobstructed view and this was his first fight, Ms Curran said.

‘Not something you would be likely to forget.’

Another witness involved in the brawl – Kupi Toilalo – gave evidence that he saw a male in a sling approach his brother holding a knife.

Fainu denies any involvement in the brawl and gave evidence that when he heard ‘knife knife’ he ran away scared for his own safety.

But Ms Curran asked the jury to find Fainu was an unimpressive and evasive witness, who gave contradictory and occasional fanciful evidence.

Manly prop Josh Aloiai (right) shakes hands with his teammate Manase Fainu (left) as he arrives at the Parramatta District Court on August 9

Manly prop Josh Aloiai (right) shakes hands with his teammate Manase Fainu (left) as he arrives at the Parramatta District Court on August 9

She asked them to reject his answers including the reason he scaled a three-metre tall brick fence to get back onto the church grounds, rather than entering through the front gate, because ‘it was easier’.

‘The accused was the only person in a sling. And a sling is quite a distinctive feature,’ Ms Curran told the court.

A professional footballer was fit and strong had ‘no other thought in his mind’ at the time but to cause Mr Levi serious bodily injury, she said.

Manase Fainu is seen with his arm in a sling following a shoulder injury in 2019, the year the alleged stabbing occurred

Manase Fainu is seen with his arm in a sling following a shoulder injury in 2019, the year the alleged stabbing occurred

His barrister Margaret Cunneen SC argued that her client, never before in trouble for any violence whatsoever, was not the stabber.

‘A sling was a feature that drew the eye, a distinguishing feature of these young men of similar nationality,’ Ms Cunneen said.

‘The group was the threat and the distinguishing feature of the group of the five men was the sling and that’s why the sling becomes the feature that is continued throughout this.’

She said Mr Quach was a man who wanted to do good and put things together, but that his evidence was unreliable and should be rejected.

The trial continues.

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