Tearful Adesanya challenges Govt on 'coward punch' laws again

Source: 1News

An emotional Israel Adesanya and his City Kickboxing (CKB) gym stablemates are in disbelief after yesterday's sentencing of a man involved in a fatal attack on one of their fighters.

The UFC champion fronted media today after Ofa He Mooni Folau, one of four men charged in relation to the death of Fau Vake, was sentenced to six months' home detention.

Folau pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting with intent to injure, admitting he punched Vake and his brother three times each during the early morning attack in central Auckland in May.

An emotional Adesanya said his frustration with yesterday's sentence stems from a memory in the aftermath of that attack.

"The main thing that really irks me, I'll never forget this, is when his daughter was being held by their mother," Adesanya said before pausing.

"Fau's lying there and she goes, 'daddy, wake up, daddy, daddy, wake up,' and then that broke me, I just burst into tears."

Adesanya said he struggled to understand the sentence having seen the heartbreak of Vake's death first-hand.

"There's a little girl still waiting for dad to come home but meanwhile, these bottom feeders who did this to him, they get to go home and chill at home, rest at home with their families in the comforts of their own homes."

 ‘A bad law in place’

After Vake's death a week after the assault, Adesanya and CKB supported the family while also challenging Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to censure harsher penalties for people found to have committed a "coward punch".

Police have not described details of the alleged assault, but CKB and Adesanya say "coward punchers" need to held accountable for their actions.

However, Ardern said at the time she was cautioning against creating new laws for specific offences such as coward punches because it could lead to "unintended consequences".

Israel Adesanya challenges Jacinda Ardern.

“One of the issues is when you create separate pieces of legislation, sometimes you can create unintended consequences,” she said.

“Currently, of course, you are able via a manslaughter charge, for instance, to receive a term of life imprisonment.”

Adesanya issued another challenge to Ardern and her Government today to change the laws in light of yesterday's sentencing.

"I know you guys are smart people, you seem to be smart people," he said, staring directly down the camera.

"There's already a bad law in place and we're here to change that law - it's not going to happen for Fau because he's already gone but the next person, because one of your family members could possibly suffer a serious fate like this.

"Then I'm sure if this was your family member or someone you gave a f*** about, I'm sure you could pull some strings - we all know you wouldn't just let someone serve six months home detention."

The three other men charged in relation to Vake's death, one of whom faces manslaughter charges, have pleaded not guilty and are expected to go on trial next year.