The West Australian reports…
“A former state rugby prospect has been labelled “gutless” and a “coward” by the judge who spared him prison for a brutal attack he launched against three defenceless homeless men in front of shocked Perth shoppers.
Filimaua ‘Dez’ Laalaai, 20, was convicted for fighting in public causing fear following the brutal attack which was captured on CCTV on a Saturday night last November.
Laalaai, who had previously been picked in WA rugby league under-18 squad, was out celebrating a friend’s birthday when an argument with three men erupted in the Murray Street mall.
As the altercation appeared to be fizzling out, Laalaai launched what Judge Ronald Birmingham described as a “vicious” attack on the men, the first who he knocked to the ground, punched five times and then kicked in the head twelve times as he lay prone.
On the footage, Laalaai can then be seen running to where the second man is lying motionless on the ground and kicking him to the back of the neck.
He then kicks the third man in the same way – before returning to the first man, who is stood up but obviously hurt.
He launches another attack with his fists before being pulled away by his friends – with the cameras capturing Laalaai’s smiling face as he strides away.
“The people he was kicking were laying defensively on the ground. If he did that in a rugby game he’d never play again,” Judge Birmingham said.
“You also took some pleasure out of the treatment you meted out. Your expression in the video is one of smugness, of amusement at the fact that you’re being … a big fellow in kicking people on the ground like a hero. You weren’t. You were a coward.”
After an investigation, Laalaai was charged with fighting in public causing fear, as the three itinerant victims told police they were not interested in helping press charges.
He pleaded guilty in Perth District Court, with his lawyer Pauline German saying it was entirely out of character for Laalaai, who is now a church youth group leader and a member of the church choir.
“In his own words, he lost control due to being under the influence of alcohol. He can’t explain why or how he lost control and he’s extremely ashamed and sorry for his actions,” Ms German said.
Judge Birmingham imposed a nine-month intensive supervision order, a $1000 fine and 50 hours unpaid community work on Laalaai, who said his behaviour on the night was “thuggish”.
“This was violent antisocial behaviour that caused fear and mayhem in the shopping precincts of Perth at night. It’s little wonder that tourists and law‑abiding members of the community avoid areas in the city … if they’re to be confronted with this type of behaviour.”