High-profile sportsman continues bid for name suppression

Tevita Sitanilei Kulu, Tevita Matangi Fangupo and Toni Rajendra Finau were found guilty of having roles in an international drug syndicate. Picture: STUFF SPORTS

A high-profile sportsman, alleged to have connections with an international drug syndicate, is continuing his bid to keep his name secret.

His case was called again in the High Court in Auckland on Friday, however Justice Mathew Downs suppressed all submissions.

The sportsman’s name was repeatedly mentioned during the 2019 trial of Tevita Sitanilei Kulu, Tevita Matangi Fangupo and Toni Rajendra Finau.

The trio were found guilty of various charges relating to importing methamphetamine from California and being involved in the wholesale supply of the Class A drug in Auckland.

The Crown said the sportsman was involved in helping transfer money for the syndicate and buying drugs from Finau.

But while the police had a search warrant for the sportsman’s phone they failed to execute it.

The sportsman was never charged and the Crown’s evidence against him has never been tested in court.

His lawyer, Mike Heron QC has previously told the Court that his client strongly denies all the allegations.

After hearing argument from Heron, the Crown and the media, Justice Downs reserved his decision.

The case was originally heard in the High Court in 2019 where the sportsman lost name suppression. Heron appealed the case to the Court of Appeal where again his client’s bid for name suppression was dismissed.

However, new information has since come to light and the matter has been sent back to the High Court.

 

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