Argument over sex led to fatal stabbing, says prosecutor

STABBING ACCUSED: Juliette Anne Gerbes outside Napier court house.
STABBING ACCUSED: Juliette Anne Gerbes outside Napier court house.

An argument about sex resulted in the fatal stabbing of a young man.

A knife sliced 15 centimetres into Christopher Jones' stomach, cutting two major vessels and causing excessive bleeding. He died in Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital hours later.

The Crown claims Juliette Anne Gerbes, 21, plunged the knife into Jones after a violent argument. Gerbes says she picked up the knife to defend herself but insists Jones pulled it into himself.

She is defending her actions for the second time after a jury failed to reach a verdict on the manslaughter charge earlier this year.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker told the High Court at Napier yesterday that Gerbes and Jones had a violent relationship, which reached its lowest point on October 13, 2012.

Jones tried to initiate sex when they got home from a party but Gerbes told him she was not in the mood. She slapped him when he said he would go down to the local bar and find a woman who would sleep with him.

The couple started throwing punches until Jones got hold of Gerbes' neck and tried to choke her, before storming off. Thinking he had gone to the bar, she got up to lock the doors.

When she found Jones still in the house, she tried to push him outside. But he pushed harder and backed her into a corner. She grabbed the closest thing she could find - a knife on the bench.

Walker said Gerbes plunged the knife into Jones in anger. The angle and direction of the wound were "inconsistent" with Jones pulling the knife into himself.

The jury had to determine whether she stabbed Jones or the wound was self-inflicted, either accidentally or deliberately, Walker said.

He acknowledged she may have been acting in self-defence, but stabbing him was "beyond reasonable force".

"It [self-defence] is not a blank cheque to use as much force as you like," Walker said. "She did not need to stab him. She did not need to thrust the knife into him."

Lawyer Eric Forster said Gerbes picked up the knife in self-defence because she feared further assault. "She did not intentionally cause the wound."

Hours later Gerbes told police Jones had pulled the knife into himself. Forster said she had been telling the same story all along, before she knew Jones would not survive to give evidence.

The trial, before Justice Lowell Goddard, is expected to take three to four days.

The Dominion Post