Rugby league star jailed for eight years after stabbing Mormon church leader

Manase Fainu has been jailed and sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of stabbing a Mormon church leader.

Former Manly Sea Eagles and Tongan international hooker Fainu, who was predicted for greatness in rugby league, is set to appeal the decision that was handed down at Parramatta District Court.

The incident took place outside a South Sydney church in October 2019 where a brawl started, before Fainu jumped back over a wall and stabbed Faamanu Levi in the back with a steak knife.

Levi suffered a punctured lung and told the court he could no longer pursue his dream of becoming a police officer because of the injury, while also stating the incident has left him constantly living in fear and ‘watching his back’.

Fainu was sentenced to eight years by a jury after pleading not guilty to a count of ‘wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm’. He is set to serve at least four years and three months, as per NCA Newswire. 

The 24-year-old represented Tonga at international level and had a blossoming career ahead of him before he was stood down as part of the NRL’s ‘No-fault stand-down’ policy.

Fainu had racked up eight tries in his 34 appearances for Manly, with recently sacked Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler providing a character referencing in which he described his former player as a “work in progress”.

Hasler added that “given another chance, he could face the fire of his challenges and rise again better and wiser”, while Fainu declared he was determined to turn his life and career around.

Judge Nanette Williams concluded that “I hope he (Fainu) will be able to fulfil his impressive promise and pick up his career where he left off”, but that won’t come until at least October 2026, at which point Fainu will be 28.

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