A man who stabbed another man to death in an Auckland home has been jailed for four years after a judge found he was provoked and acting in self defence.
A jury took more than a day to find Cheng Qi "Chris" Wang, 52, not guilty of the murder of Zhuo "Michael" Wu, 44, but guilty of the manslaughter of Yishan "Tom" Zhong, 53, at Wang's $2 million Mt Albert home in January 2011.
Zhong was found lying dead in the driveway of the house with 23 stab wounds.
Wu, with three stab wounds, was found inside the house, collapsed at the base of the stairs and died a short time later.
Crown prosecutor Kevin Glubb said Wang inflicted the fatal wound to Zhong's back as he tried to run away, whereas defence lawyer Tom Sutcliffe said Zhong had been used as a human shield by Wu.
Justice Geoffrey Venning said the truth probably lay somewhere between the two versions of events but accepted Wang acted in self defence after confronted by a knife-wielding man in his home.
Glubb said the deaths were the "final, tragic" act in a long-running dispute between Wang and his former wife, Michelle Chen, over residential properties they owned together.
In 2010, two years after they had separated, Chen moved back to China.
To help her gain some control over the residential properties, she enlisted the help of Wu, private investigator Phil Jones and property lawyer David Snedden, the court was told.
She said she was not receiving income from the properties and she wanted Wang out of one of the houses she believed he was living in.
Wu and Zhong had known Wang for some time. Both had gone into business with him, disputes had arisen and the relationships had soured.
Earlier attempts to engage Wang had been unsuccessful and "heated", the court heard.
Wu and Zhong were advised not to attempt to evict Wang and Jones refused to join them.
He said if the two men had to go to the house, they should take police with them.
On the morning of January 14, Wu went to the Avondale police station to ask for help enforcing trespass notices.
The person at the watch-house told Wu she couldn't allocate staff to the task, but Wu should call 111 on the way to the house if he needed help.
At the Mt Albert house Wu grabbed a knife from the kitchen and he and Zhong made their way upstairs where they encountered a young woman, the court heard.
She told Wang he had visitors and, at his instructions, went to wait on the balcony.
Upon seeing the two men, Wang pulled a hunting knife from his bedside table and a melee ensued.
It was the third time the trial had run.
The case was aborted in February 2012 after jurors fell ill and in the second trial seven months later the jury could not agree on a verdict.
Wang will serve his four-year jail term on top of a sentence he's currently serving for fraud and money laundering.
On Monday, Wang was sentenced to two years and nine months' in jail for dishonestly using a document and money laundering.
The Crimes Act charges were laid by the Serious Fraud Office in June 2010 and in January this year he was found guilty on all counts.
The SFO charges related to property transactions undertaken by Wang in 2008. The SFO said Wang would use false documentation to obtain 100 per cent or greater mortgage funding from lenders through the use of what was termed "price hydraulicking".
This involved the same day purchase and on-sale of properties at significantly different purchase prices - the purchase price on the greater value sale and purchase agreement was relied upon to obtain finance.
The SFO said Wang processed mortgage money through various entities' bank accounts, normally home-stay students living with him at the time. He then paid the relevant costs before retaining the net balance of the proceeds.
In total, Wang obtained $2.3 million in mortgage funding, the SFO said.
Acting Chief Executive for the SFO, Simon McArley said Wang deliberately set out to deceive the banks concerned into believing that he paid significantly more for the properties than he had.
"He also dragged other individuals into his scheme," he said.
"His method should be seen as a reminder to fund providers, and to investors, to maintain a high standard of checks and balances."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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