On the night of October 3, 2020, Nigel Fuatimu and Samtuiosa Osa were socialising with friends in Jellicoe Park in Manurewa, south Auckland.
“Without warning, he and his friends were jumped by some other men,” Crown prosecutor Dale Dufty told a jury on Monday.
Fuatimu and Osa were randomly attacked, Dufty said.
Isaac Ramese-Stanley and Simon Tavita are jointly charged with murdering Fuatimu. Kitiona Stanley is charged with assault with intent to injure Samtuiosa Osa.
All three have pleaded not guilty and are on trial at the High Court at Auckland.
Fuatimu, Osa and other friends all gathered at Osa’s parents’ home, where they were upbeat – drinking, playing music.
As the music got louder, they went to Jellicoe Park with their portable speaker.
They were singing, blasting Samoan music and having a good time, Dufty said.
That same night, four other Samoan men had gathered at another house. They were the defendants.
They were also drinking alcohol and, shortly before 11pm, they found themselves close to Jellicoe Park and could hear the singing and laughter, Dufty said.
“In the darkness with the music still blaring, Isaac and Simon entered the park,” Dufty said.
The next few events happened very quickly and that will be the focus for the jury.
Ramese-Stanley or Tavita approached the group and said the music was too loud, Dufty submitted.
Then there was “sudden and unexpected violence”, Dufty said.
Osa was blindsided and punched in the head without warning, he then sprinted to the edge of the park to what he thought was safety, the Crown said.
Fuatimu was knocked to the ground and grappled with Tavita as he tried to defend himself.
Two other complainants were knocked and kicked multiple times and fled.
“It was fight or flight,” Dufty said.
Fuatimu was still grappling on the ground when Ramese-Stanley struck or kicked him in the head.
He was struck in the head multiple times while he lay there unconscious and face down.
However, the assault wasn’t over, Tavita then picked up a large brick and struck Fuatimu again, Dufty said.
Meanwhile, Osa did not know Stanley and Moataa were hovering, and he was attacked again.
The two other complainants returned to the park, having picked up sticks, but found Fuatimu face down on the ground with the defendants gone.
They called 111 and waited for help. First responders tried to resuscitate Fuatimu but eventually they had to stop.
“The Crown says he was murdered,” Dufty said.
Panama Le’au’anae, acting on behalf of Tavita, submitted to the jury this was not a straightforward case and his client did not assault Fuatimu.
Le’au’anae said Ramese-Stanley had been blindsided and ended up on the ground underneath Fuatimu.
Tavita wanted to get him off, Le’au’anae said.
Ramese-Stanley’s lawyer, Scott Clark, told the jury there was no evidence that would be able to satisfy or prove beyond reasonable doubt that his client meant to cause Fuatimu’s death.
Clark said who caused the injuries, what the injuries were and when those injuries were caused would be fundamental for the jury.
Tua Saseve, acting for Stanley, said his client did not punch or kick Osa but told his friend Moataa to stop.
“He was concerned because he looked unconscious and went to check on him ... He even tipped him on to the side. That was his only involvement,” Saseve said.
The Crown is expected to call 51 witnesses, including Osa and Moataa.
The trial before Justice Paul Davison and a jury is set down for three weeks.
Photo supplied Caption: Nigel Fuatimu, 21, died in Jellicoe Park in Manurewa on October 3, 2020.