Rugby: Chiefs player to pay $3000 to victim of dog attack

Chiefs player Glen Fisiiahi has been ordered to pay $3000 to the person who was attacked by his dog.
Chiefs player Glen Fisiiahi has been ordered to pay $3000 to the person who was attacked by his dog.

A Chiefs player has been ordered to pay $3000 to the young girl who was bitten by his pitbull.

Glen Masiva Fisiiahi, 25, a former Warriors player, was also ordered to pay an $850 fine and $130 court costs when he appeared in the Auckland District Court this afternoon after his pit bull, Son-Son attacked the child in March.

Fisiiahi, whose on-field nickname is "The Flying Fish", and his wife Leuina Tema, 26, pleaded guilty in July to the Auckland Council-laid offence of owning a dog that attacked a child.

Tema was discharged without conviction because the court accepted her culpability was low as she wasn't the registered owner of the dog and wasn't at the house when the attack happened.

The couple's lawyer John Munro said Fisiiahi was not seeking discharge without conviction because he wanted to take responsibility for the attack.

According to court documents, the couple owned a "honey and white" male pit bull that attacked a child on Rowena Cres, Glen Innes.

The young girl was talking to a friend through Fisiiahi's gate when she reached her hand through the railings and the dog rushed over.

The 8-year-old was bitten on her right forearm and spent a day in Starship hospital for the injury. She now has a permanent scar on her arm.

Munro told Judge David Mather that Fisiiahi's remorse was "quite exceptional" and he'd had a restorative justice conference with the victim and her family and offered a "significant" reparation payment.

The rugby player had offered to pay the victim $2500 but the family had asked for $10,000, which Munro said was not to the scale of the offending.

"He hasn't tried to shirk his responsibilities by seeking a discharge without conviction."

Munro said Fisiiahi should be applauded for that, especially in regards to other sports stars who seek it.

Fisiiahi was the registered owner of the dog but was overseas at the time of the attack and so Tema was responsible for the animal in his absence and its surrogate owner. They had a high fence surrounding the property which was gated.

However, she was in Hamilton at the time of the attack.

The dog was handed over and destroyed immediately.

Judge Mather accepted Tema's culpability was low and that a conviction would outweigh the crime so granted her discharge without conviction.

But he said Fisiiahi had been "put on notice" by dog control after the dog put its head through the railings and attacked a different child in November 2014, not injuring the child but ripping a puffer jacket.

A dog control officer told the sports star to put mesh across the railings to prevent another attack, but he failed to do so.

Another aggravating factor was that the victim was a child and her injuries were severe.

He ordered Fisiiahi to pay $3000 to the victim for reparation and fined the rugby player $850 plus $130 court costs.

- NZ Herald

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