At­tacker says sorry

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - AM­BER WIL­SON Court Re­porter

A HO­BART man has apol­o­gised for be­ing “stupid” and bash­ing an in­no­cent young rev­eller who walked past him out­side Par­lia­ment House.

The Supreme Court of Tas­ma­nia yes­ter­day heard Neil Arm­strong Langi Na­u­fahu punched the vic­tim to the head and kicked him twice and punched him to the head again af­ter he fell. Na­u­fahu said he was big­ger than the vic­tim, who hadn’t caused him any trou­ble.

A HO­BART man ad­mit­ted he was a “d...head” for bash­ing an in­no­cent young rev­eller who walked past him out­side Par­lia­ment House, leav­ing the vic­tim writhing on the ground. In the early hours of May 5 this year, the young man walked to­wards Sala­manca through the par­lia­ment car park, the Supreme Court of Tas­ma­nia heard yes­ter­day. But on his way, 30-yearold Neil Arm­strong Langi Na­u­fahu ap­proached him. Pros­e­cu­tor Deanne Ear­ley said the vic­tim pro­duced his wal­let, with Na­u­fahu tak­ing it, drop­ping it, and put­ting it back in­side the man’s back pocket. The youth tried to “pacify” Na­u­fahu by hug­ging him, she said. But as the youth walked away, the Good­wood man punched him to the side of the head, with his vic­tim col­laps­ing to the ground. With the man on the ground, Na­u­fahu kicked him twice and punched him to the head again. The vic­tim rolled around on the ground for a while, try­ing to sit up, then even­tu­ally caught a bus home, Ms Ear­ley con­tin­ued. When the youth re­turned home, his mother called an am­bu­lance and he spent the next 24 hours in hos­pi­tal, suf­fer­ing “se­vere con­cus­sion symp­toms” for weeks. The in­ci­dent was cap­tured on Par­lia­ment House CCTV footage and Na­u­fahu, who had “drunk heaps”, was in­ter­cepted by po­lice the same night and de­tained un­til he was sober. Na­u­fahu, who later pleaded guilty to as­sault, told po­lice: “I’m a d...head, stupid, and I feel sorry for him.” Na­u­fahu also said he was sorry, ad­mit­ted he was big­ger than the vic­tim, and that the youth hadn’t been caus­ing him any trou­ble be­fore he at­tacked him. The vic­tim read a vic­tim im­pact state­ment to the court yes­ter­day, say­ing he strug­gled to re­mem­ber the in­ci­dent but had night­mares of be­ing at the scene. “I just find it hard to un­der­stand how some­one could do this to an­other per­son who was of no threat,” he said. He said he suf­fered swelling and bruis­ing to his face, a large bump on the back of his head and a cut to his lip. “I re­alise how for­tu­nate I am af­ter see­ing what hap­pened on the video footage.” Na­u­fahu will be sen­tenced on December 9.

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