Debt ambush near-deadly

Victoria Police at the scene of the stabbing in January 2020. 203872_01 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A 23-year-old Cranbourne man has been jailed after repeatedly stabbing a victim during a pack ambush in broad daylight in Hammond Road Dandenong.

Junior Fualausia, with three associates, critically wounded the then-24-year-old victim and left him for dead on the afternoon of 27 January 2020.

“It was pure good fortune for your victim and for you that he survived,” Victorian County Court sentencing judge Michael Tinney told Fualausia on 23 November.

At the time, Fualausia allegedly owed the victim a drug debt.

That day, after being pressed for the money several times, Fualausia texted the victim: “I got your money bro sorry, are you able to swing by?”

When the victim arrived outside the apartments on Hammond Road, he was jumped by four masked males and repeatedly punched, kicked and struck with a light pole.

Fualausia later told an associate he’d stabbed the victim “everywhere”. He was sure that he’d killed him.

With 12 stab wounds to his neck, torso and limbs, the victim stumbled back into his car.

He was struggling to breathe and with blood “bubbling” on his chest, according to one of the by-standers who came to his aid.

His four attackers walked away.

The victim, who suffered significant blood loss and collapsed lungs, was given CPR by paramedics.

He was taken unconscious to Dandenong Hospital, underwent surgery and spent three days in ICU at The Alfred hospital.

His deep stab wounds had punctured lungs, liver capsule, muscles, a jugular vein and broken a rib. He suffered ongoing issues with his lungs, nerve damage, anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

“You’ve changed his life forever,” Judge Tinney said of the “frightening” attack.

“He will never forget the day that you came close to ending his life.”

Fualausia made an early guilty plea and showed “limited” remorse, but there were “not too many” mitigating factors in this case.

At the time of the stabbing, Fualausia was on a community corrections order.

He had long-standing drug issues and a short criminal history of assaults, driving and car theft offences.

“I certainly won’t write you off,” Judge Tinney said.

“I am prepared to accept you do have realistic prospects of rehabilitation.”

But the judge said he also had to consider the seriousness of the “extraordinary act of violence”.

Fualausia was jailed for up to eight-and-a-half years. He will be eligible for parole after five-and-a-half years.

It includes 417 days already served in pre-sentence custody.

One alleged co-offender has been charged with the attack.