An alleged bikie associate charged over a Moncrieff man’s “horrific” beating was “taking the law into his own hands” trying to get his belongings back, a court has been told.
Atunaisa Folauhola, 22, on Monday said he would plead not guilty to aggravated burglary, theft, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and damaging property.
Documents tendered to the court said Mr Folauhola, who is a concreter, knocked on the door of his alleged victim’s Moncrieff home about 7pm on December 7, 2019, along with an unknown co-offender.
The alleged victim saw the pair and “immediately thought the males were at the [house] to hurt him”, the documents said. When the man didn’t open the door, Mr Folauhola and the co-offender allegedly forced open another door to the house.
In court, the prosecution said a “quite horrific” attack ensued; Mr Folauhola and the co-offender allegedly punched the man nearly 20 times before he “begged” for the assault to stop.
“This is an extremely brazen and an alarming incident,” a prosecutor told the court. She alleged Mr Folauhola “had links” to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Mr Folauhola had asked the man to give him back his belongings, but he initially pretended he didn’t have them because he thought it “would lead to more trouble”, the documents said. Mr Folauhola’s defence lawyer said he was trying to recover several items at the house, including a gold Gucci watch worth about $3000, a bum bag containing about $1000, and two cars.
The prosecutor said Mr Folauhola took the law into his own hands, rather than contacting police to retrieve the items.
Mr Folauhola allegedly pulled a CCTV monitor off the wall of the house, and smashed it on the ground, along with two laptops, the documents said.
He and the co-offender allegedly searched through the man’s belongings and stole an Oppo mobile phone, a Nike bum bag, a BMW key, and a set of house keys.
After a struggle with the co-offender, the alleged victim escaped and ran to his neighbour’s house, the documents said. He lay on his neighbour’s driveway while Mr Folauhola and the co-offender left the scene.
Police arrested Mr Folauhola over the incident about 9.30am on January 25, 2020.
The court documents said the alleged victim reported a broken nose, a broken eye socket, swelling, bruising, and loose teeth after the alleged attack.
CCTV, which allegedly captured Mr Folauhola knocking on the door to the house and later leaving, also showed the alleged victim “covered in blood”, the documents said.
Mr Folauhola’s lawyer argued he should be granted bail, and said there were “several issues” with the prosecution’s case and the alleged victim was a “known criminal”.
He said there was no evidence Mr Folauhola entered the Moncrieff house “in a violent manner”. He proposed bail conditions which he said would mean “a very strong restriction of [Mr Folauhola’s] liberty”.
Magistrate Robert Cook said if police allegations were proven, the incident was “a serious unprovoked assault on another member of the community”.
He refused to grant Mr Folauhola bail, and remanded him in custody to appear in court again on March 10. Mr Folauhola hugged and kissed his family before he was escorted to the court cells by corrections officers.