2 Feb 2022

MMA fighter Fau Vake attack: Man pleads guilty to manslaughter

10:44 am on 2 February 2022

A man has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Fau Vake, a rising MMA fighter who was punched in a late night attack in Auckland last year.

Fau Vake

Liufau Vake known as Fau died in hospital nine days after the attack. Photo: Instagram / Fau Vake

Liufau Vake, 25, known as Fau, died in hospital nine days after being hit late at night outside a bar on Symonds St. He was in critical care and underwent surgery to try relieve pressure on his brain.

Today in the Auckland High Court, Daniel Havili pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Fau Vake, and to assaulting Fau's brother Ika Vake, who survived. Havili's name suppression lapsed today and he can be named for the first time.

Another man, Siofilisi Paongo, pleaded guilty to assaulting Ika Vake.

Both men initially pleaded not guilty and were set to be tried in court later this year. They will now be sentenced on April 12 this year.

A total of four men were charged. Three have now pleaded guilty, and one denies his charges and will go to trial this year.

In August last year Ofa He Mooni Folau, 29, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting with intent to injure.

Folau was sentenced to six months' home detention, which Vake's friend Dan Hooker likened to a Covid lockdown, not an appropriate punishment.

"That's not good enough for being part of an attack that took a man's life," Dan Hooker said outside court in August 2021.

"Six months, stay at home? That's Covid restrictions," Hooker said, who's also an MMA fighter. "100 percent the laws have to change."

Neither the Crown nor the defence contended that Folau was responsible for Fau's death, but the judge said Folau had punched Fau Vake three times in the head with a closed fist. Vake was subsequently assaulted by others and was rendered unconscious. He was taken to hospital and required surgery to relieve pressure on his brain, and died nine days later.

The judge in Folau's sentencing said Vake and his brother were trying to get away from the men, and were not aggressors in the situation.

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