Moa Morianekumeri Naunau leaves court after admitting to assaulting a woman at an Ipswich pub.
Moa Morianekumeri Naunau leaves court after admitting to assaulting a woman at an Ipswich pub.

Pokie player says he slapped woman over racist slur

IT was 3am when poker machine player Moa Naunau was criticised by a woman for having his feet up on a bench.

Riled up, the father of three reacted by slapping the woman across the face.

When Naunau went before Ipswich Magistrates Court he claimed the woman used a racist slur when she criticised his behaviour.

Moa Morianekumeri Naunau, 24, from Riverview, pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm in public when adversely affected by an intoxicating substance on January 25.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Brad Dick said the incident took place at 3am inside the gaming room at Raceview Tavern.

He said the female victim was playing a poker machine and Naunau was seated nearby with three friends.

"She took exception to his feet being up on a bench," Sgt Dick said.

There had been an argument and Naunau stood up and slapped her face with his open right hand.

This caused the woman to overbalance and stagger into a poker machine, Sgt Dick said.

An ambulance was called to the tavern and the woman was treated for swelling and redness to the left side of her face.

Sgt Dick tended photos, taken from the tavern's CCTV, that showed the assault.

Defence lawyer Ms Scott said Naunau was married man and a father of three.

She said Naunau was born in American Samoa but grew up in Queensland since moving here in 2004.

"He had consumed alcohol. His history is littered with offences he instructs are related to alcohol," Ms Scott said.

"He has stopped drinking.

"His wife was unhappy about his offence and being charged.

"He instructs racist language was used by the woman about his skin colour.

"His reaction was inappropriate. Alcohol was a factor.

"He should not have acted in the way he did but it wasn't out of the blue toward her.

"He co-operated with police but given his intoxication he couldn't be interviewed at the time."

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said his criminal history suggested an ongoing problem with alcohol as Naunau had previous convictions for assaults/obstruct police, wilful damage, public nuisance and disorderly conduct.

Ms Sturgess said the photos show him playing a poker machine with his feet up on a bench. He is then seen to stand up and strike the woman across her face.

"Regardless of what you say was said, you had no lawful reason to assault this woman," she said.

"Intoxication is no excuse to make a stupid decision. You need to control your alcohol intake."

She noted that he failed to get through a previous court-ordered community service work order.

Naunau then assured the magistrate he would comply with her order.

He was convicted and sentenced to complete an unpaid 120-hour community service order.