Guilty verdict in NZ musician's death

Last updated 20:39 29/05/2014
Andy Marshall and his parents

HEARTS BROKEN: Andy Marshall with his parents.

Andy Marshall
KILLED DURING A NIGHT OUT: Andy Marshall was following his dream of becoming a professional musician in Australia.
Stefan Schmidt
STEFAN SCHMIDT: Found guilty of manslaughter.

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A former bikie associate who killed a New Zealand musician by pushing him through the second storey window of a Perth pub has been jailed for nine years.

Stefan Pahia Schmidt, 28, was acquitted of murder in a judge-alone re-trial in the West Australian Supreme Court on Thursday, but was found guilty of manslaughter.

In 2012, Schmidt was handed a life sentence with a minimum jail term of 14 years for murdering Andy Marshall by shoving him through the second storey window of Cottesloe's Ocean Beach Hotel in May 2011.

But the Court of Appeal determined in August that Schmidt should face a retrial, with Justice Michael Buss saying he could have been found guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.

At the start of the retrial, Schmidt had offered to plead guilty to the lesser charge, admitting he had pushed Mr Marshall but didn't mean to kill him.

But prosecutors rejected the plea deal.

On Thursday, Justice John McKechnie found Schmidt guilty of manslaughter and ordered that he spend at least seven years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

The sentence was backdated to May 2011 when he was placed in custody.

Alan Marshall, Andy Marshall's father, said the family respected the decision but did not agree with it.

"He was convicted of murder once and to us that's what it is," he said. "But there is no judge in the world who is going to bring him back to our lives, and it would have been a mistake to come out here with the expectation of finding closure."

They had hoped for a longer sentence, but would try to move on and rebuild their lives without Andy, he said.

Alan Marshall and his wife Wendy both gave victim impact statements before today's sentencing.

Justice McKechnie said the only reason Schmidt was not found guilty of murder was because he hadn't thought about the consequences of his actions that caused the death, but noted it was still a very serious case of unlawful killing.

"You should have known the extreme danger of the act," he said.

Justice McKechnie said the cause of Schmidt's anger - Mr Marshall speaking with two of Schmidt's female associates - was "unbelievably innocuous".

And he was sentencing Schmidt to deter others from thinking about "casual violence", saying people should be able to go out without fearing such an attack.

Justice McKechnie noted that Schmidt's actions of walking away from the victim as he lay injured on the pavement outside the pub were "undoubtedly callous".

"However, I cannot discount the accused's explanation that he was worried about the response of hotel patrons towards him," he said.

During the retrial, Schmidt had said he walked away from a crowd gathering around Mr Marshall because he feared they would turn on him in a mob attack.

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Justice McKechnie also noted Schmidt's strength and build, saying he was a big and powerful man with a solid build and it did not make much difference if he used one or both hands to push the victim.

 

In his victim impact statement, Mr Marshall said his life had changed forever and words like "traumatised" failed to describe his feelings, which were "beyond words and beyond pain".

 

Mr Marshall said the nightmare was made worse knowing that his son died in a violent and vicious assault.

"What could possess someone to do this?" he said.

"I just wanted to hug him and be with him."

Mr Marshall said it was heartbreaking for him to hear his wife Wendy collapse when he called to inform her of their son's death.

She held back tears as she told the court the loss was overwhelming.

"My heart is broken," she said.

Marshall, formerly of Feilding, is a cousin of slain Feilding farmer Scott Guy, who was shot in his driveway in 2010.

- AAP

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