A friend of a deported Kiribati man who allegedly assaulted a co-worker says the claim is an attack on the defenceless.
Ioane Teitiota is due to arrive back on his home island today following a failed bid for New Zealand residency.
It has since emerged he was sacked from his job last year following a complaint he allegedly assaulted a female co-worker, which was investigated by police.
Reverend Sumali Naisali says the allegation is unjust.
"If you want to face somebody come up from the front and talk to them properly. But now because Ioane's left he has no voice to defend himself – it's like fighting somebody from behind."
Reverend Naisali says Mr Teitiota's wife is extremely upset.
His wife and three children will leave for Kiribati next Wednesday.