6 Oct 2016

Filipo appeal: Court asked to rule on three questions

2:02 pm on 6 October 2016

The High Court is being asked to decide three questions relating to the discharge without conviction of former Wellington rugby rep Losi Filipo, on charges of assault.

Losi Filipo

Losi Filipo Photo: Wellington Lions

The discharge was granted by Judge Bruce Davidson in the Wellington District Court in August on charges of assaulting four people, after Filipo's lawyer argued a conviction could damage his client's rugby career.

The case had not come to public attention until the details were aired in the media last month, at which stage Solicitor-General Una Jagose became aware of it and gave the police permission to appeal against the discharge.

The questions before the court, according to the notice of appeal, will include whether Judge Davidson erred by "failing properly to determine the 'gravity of the offence' by reference to all the aggravating and mitigating features of the offending and the offender".

The second question related to whether the judge erred in his assessment of the weight to be given to the potential consequences a conviction might have for Filipo.

The High Court was also asked to rule on whether Judge Davidson made an error in deciding that the direct and indirect consequences of a conviction "would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offences".

Usually parties have 20 working days in which to appeal against a decision but this appeal was filed 13 days over that deadline.

The Crown said that occurred because the Solicitor-General did not become aware of the case until after the appeal period had expired and an extension of time should be granted "in the interests of justice".

No date has yet been set for the hearing of the appeal.

Filipo's contract with Wellington Rugby was terminated after the case became public, by mutual agreement.

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