ACT News

Alleged one-punch attacker left New Zealand to escape 'Black Power' gang, court hears

A man accused of a one-punch assault outside a Civic nightclub last year came to Australia to get away from the prominent "Black Power" gang in New Zealand, a court has heard. 

Mane Tupuola, 22, allegedly began arguing with a bystander after he was refused entry to the Academy nightclub in Civic at 12.40am in August.

Tupuola is accused of punching the man, knocking him unconscious, and causing him to fall back and smash his head on the concrete.

The man was hospitalised, but made a full recovery. 

Tupuola appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court for the first time on Friday, months after the incident, and was released on bail despite opposition from prosecutors.

Tupuola left the ACT to go to Griffith in NSW immediately after the alleged attack, the court heard.

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He is suspected of returning to the ACT and committing three aggravated robberies, including two at a service station 300 metres from his house. No charges have been laid over the robberies and police say they are still investigating.

The court heard Tupuola had come to Australia to get away from bad elements in New Zealand, where he was involved in the Black Power gang.

The alleged assault was captured on high-quality CCTV vision, and police told the court that people who knew Tupuola had identified him in the footage, and remembered a similar sounding first name and his tattoos, including tear drops on his face.

The prosecution described its case as strong.

Tupuola appeared before Magistrate Peter Morrison on Friday and was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. 

The prosecution opposed bail, arguing he was a flight risk, given his recent travel from New Zealand and his departure to Griffith after the alleged assault. 

There were also fears he might try to influence witnesses, including his girlfriend, or interfere with the investigations into the aggravated robberies.

Tupuola is being investigated for allegedly robbing the Giralang 7/11 service station, just 300m from his home, twice. 

Police said they found a knife left between the service station and his address,  which appeared to match one missing from a knife block at his home. 

Police have also obtained fingerprints from one of the robberies, which they are analysing.

Tupuola will appear in court again next month.

His conditions require him to report to police, reside at his Giralang home, and not contact the complainant in the alleged assault.