Ex-NRL star Fainu appeals verdict after stabbing

·2-min read
Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS

Former NRL rising star Manese Fainu is challenging a jury's verdict that he stabbed a church youth leader outside a Mormon charity event in Sydney.

Fainu was found guilty in August last year of wounding Faamanu Levi with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Wattle Grove at night on October 25, 2019.

He received a maximum jail sentence of eight years in December with a non-parole period of four years and three months.

His challenge to what he claims was an "unreasonable" verdict came briefly before the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Thursday.

A two-hour hearing has been set down for September 15.

At that time, Fainu will only seek to overturn the verdict. If that fails, he will not attack the sentence itself.

In last year's jury trial, one witness testified to seeing Fainu plunge a steak knife into the back of Mr Levi in the car park brawl, referring to him looking angry and wearing a sling.

The jury was told the footballer had recently undergone shoulder surgery and had his arm in a sling that evening.

The stabbing occurred after an earlier fight on the dancefloor of the alcohol-free charity event organised by the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

The jurors were told Fainu and a friend known as "Big Buck" were involved in the fight and ushered outside by Mr Levi, who told them not to fight on church grounds.

CCTV footage showed Fainu with a white towel draped over his head and his four friends jumping back over a fence and into a car park where the brawl occurred with Mr Levi.

In 2018, Fainu was on track to earn a massive salary as a promising rugby league player.

However, this was all lost once he was charged after the assault, thanks to the NRL's no-fault-stand down policy.