12 Jan 2015

Crown makes case for alleged attack

7:16 pm on 12 January 2015

The Crown says what started as a festive night out on the town ended with a brawl in a bar, an Auckland Blues player and his brother in a police paddy wagon, and another man in hospital.

George Moala

George Moala's trial in the Auckland District Court is expected to last for four days. Photo: Photosport

George Moala, who plays on the wing with the Auckland Super 15 rugby franchise, was at a bar on Auckland's Karangahape Rd on the night before New Year's Eve in 2012.

He and his brother Siua Moala deny charges of assault with intent to injure and assault.

Crown claims merciless attack

Crown prosecutor Josh Shaw told the Auckland District Court today that Mr Moala and his brother Siua were part of a group of eight involved in a merciless attack on two men.

Damien Leota and his friend Clifford Matoka were in the smoking area of the Desi Lounge and were out celebrating Mr Leota's birthday. They had become seperated from their other friends.

Mr Leota said he was approached by a man who spoke to him in Tongan.

He said when he replied he wasn't Tongan, the man went back to his friends before the man approached him again and started throwing punches.

Mr Leota said he backed out of the room but was knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked and punched in the head while he was on the ground.

He moved down the stairs and was helped out by the bouncers.

But the fight continued outside as Mr Leota waited for his friend, Mr Matoka. When Mr Matoka eventually appeared, he had no shirt on, blood was coming out of his neck and he had blood on his body and jeans.

Mr Leota said the attackers came out and tried to continue the fight on the footpath.

Denial of attempt to start fight

Under cross examination from George Moala's lawyer Paul Wicks QC, Mr Leota confirmed he had been drinking but denied trying to start a one-on-one fight.

He was also questioned by Siua Moala's lawyer Mina Wharepouri and denied being intoxicated.

He also denied that his friend was drunk, despite having consumed a whole bottle of gin.

Later the court heard from a security guard, Pati Junior Pati, who was one of five or six working that night. He said the DJ announced over the PA system there was a fight and the lights came on.

Mr Pati said at that point he saw a man being kicked on the ground. He also saw blood coming from the man's head and the whole thing was like a scene from a movie.

He said he dragged the man out and threw him down the stairs for his own protection

The jury is set to hear from 11 witnesses and has already seen CCTV footage of the street outside the Desi Lounge.

Mr Shaw, in his opening, said it was not clear what started the fight but he said Mr Matoka had an artery nicked after being hit with what was likely a bottle.

He said George and Siua Moala were very involved in the attack, which he described as merciless.

The trial is set down for four days.