Losi Filipo's rugby contract terminated

Losi Filipo (file)
Losi Filipo (file)

Wellington Lions rugby player Losi Filipo's contract has been terminated following outcry over his lenient sentencing.

Newshub revealed on Monday night the 18-year-old was discharged without conviction following the vicious assault of four people - including two women - in central Wellington last year.

The attack left rugby player Greg Morgan unable to work for eight months and he's been told he'll never play rugby again.

"Wellington Rugby and Losi Filipo have mutually agreed to the termination of his contract," Wellington Rugby said in a statement.

"Filipo today withdrew himself from the Wellington Lions 2016 Mitre 10 Cup squad in a move he hopes will go some way toward helping the victims of his assault move on with their lives."

Filipo avoided a conviction after high-ranking rugby officials wrote letters to the courts on his behalf, including agent Warren Alcock, Wellington Rugby CEO Steve Rogers and Petone Rugby Football Club's Darren Larson.

He was also backed by Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy.

After Newshub uncovered this story, Wellington Rugby released a statement in which they defended themselves and Mr Filipo.

"Wellington Rugby would like to state clearly our organisation does not support violence in any form," chief executive Steve Rogers said.

The statement says while the organisation gave "generic information" to Mr Filipo's lawyer about what effects a conviction would have on a professional rugby player, it wasn't involved in the court proceedings and didn't know the full details of the case.

Wellington Rugby knew Mr Filipo was involved in an "off-field incident", but they put off any investigation of their own until the court case had finished.

Considering the court deemed a conviction wouldn't fit the seriousness of the crime, the organisation went "down the path of providing Losi with a support network to assist in his rehabilitation".

Now however, they say Mr Filipo approached Wellington Rugby this afternoon seeking a release from his playing contract and, after discussions the parties agreed that the termination of his contract was the best outcome for all parties.

'Unfortunate situation'

Mr Rogers said the situation was an unfortunate one for everybody involved.

"Our first thoughts are with the victims of this assault. Wellington Rugby would like to extend our sympathies to the two men and women involved in the incident and reiterate the fact that we do not condone violence in any form," he says.

"We would like to extend an offer of assistance and support to Greg Morgan, a member of our rugby community who we have learned will not be able to play the game due to his injuries."

Mr Filipo said in a statement that he is remorseful of his actions and the effects they have had on the people involved.

"I understand why the victims of the assault do not want to talk to me and have not taken up an offer of restorative justice, but I would like to publicly apologise for my actions and the damage they caused. I made a huge mistake that my victims and myself will have to live with for the rest of our lives.

"I will continue to access the personal development and support structures I have engaged with over the past year. Though I cannot change what happened I recognise that I have been provided with a second chance and I want to continue use this opportunity to work hard."

Mr Rogers reiterated that Wellington Rugby was not simply washing its hands of Mr Filipo due to public pressure and would continue to offer support.

"Wellington Rugby believes the best outcome for society would be for Losi to remain involved in the game of rugby. To that end we put support structures in place which we believe have already helped him make big advancements."


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