Cruis­ing for a booz­ing

Drunk rev­eller ripped cop’s shirt dur­ing wild brawl

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - JAMIE McKIN­NELL

A WOMAN who punched on with po­lice dur­ing a wild brawl af­ter a boozy cruise said she was drunk at the time.

Dur­ing the Dar­ling Har­bour fra­cas on Fe­bru­ary 24, Lia Fek­i­toa, 25, also grabbed a po­lice ra­dio, ripped an of­fi­cer’s shirt, and swung at of­fi­cers. She also told an of­fi­cer that they were a “‘ lit­tle bitch’,” court doc­u­ments re­vealed.

Fek­i­toa pleaded guilty to as­sault­ing and re­sist­ing po­lice when she ap­peared be­fore Down­ing Cen­tre Lo­cal Court yes­ter­day. “I was highly in­tox­i­cated,” Fek­i­toa told the court. “It was out of my char­ac­ter to do some­thing like that.”

Mag­is­trate Daniel Cov­ing­ton recorded a con­vic­tion and handed Fek­i­toa a 12-month good be­hav­iour bond.

“You were up­set and you were in­tox­i­cated. That does not ex­cuse your be­hav­iour,” Mr Cov­ing­ton said.

But she was just one of six peo­ple ar­rested over the Satur­day night melee, which be­gan when a 30m lux­ury Con­stel­la­tion Cruises cata­ma­ran host­ing a birth­day party re­turned to King St Wharf to drop off some rev­ellers. Po­lice were told things be­came heated when the boozedup rev­ellers ig­nored or­ders to stand back from a walk­way. Lana Marie Battaglia, who was cel­e­brat­ing her 21st birth­day, was car­ried off on a stretcher af­ter be­ing pushed down the stairs as po­lice waded in. Fek­i­toa’s friend Racheal Matycz, 25, at­tempted to calm her down but was ar­rested for re­sist­ing po­lice and pleaded guilty. “I was just try­ing to be a good friend,” she said. Matycz told the court she was a full­time carer for her autis­tic five-yearold son, who had re­quired two open-heart surg­eries. She also has a three-year-old daugh­ter.

Mr Cov­ing­ton placed her on a 12-month good be­hav­iour bond with­out con­vic­tion. “If al­co­hol causes you to make these de­ci­sions, you may need to re­think how much you’re drink­ing,” he said.

Teresa Sio, 23, pleaded not guilty to her role in the fight and will re­turn on April 26 while John Naisali, 26, pleaded not guilty and is back in May. Theresa Aho­fono, 23, did not en­ter a plea and is ex­pected to re­turn to court on April 24 with Agnes Tuiv­ailala, 24, who pleaded guilty to af­fray but not guilty to as­sault.

Lia Fek­i­toa leaves court yes­ter­day; (above left) Lana Marie Battaglia (also pic­tured left) is car­ried from her 21st birth­day cruise.

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