Ex-neighbour's evidence crucial to case, court told

A former Palmerston North student who had to give evidence via a satellite link from Malaysia holds the key in deciding the fate of Anthony William Johnston, both defence and prosecution have told a court.

Johnston, 51, is on trial in the Palmerston North District Court charged with wounding with intent to injure.

During their closing addresses yesterday, both Crown prosecutor Daniel Flinn and defence lawyer Tony Thackery said a former neighbour of Johnston's - a university student who now lives in Malaysia - had crucial evidence.

Mr Flinn said the neighbour - who witnessed an altercation on March 9, 2012, between Johnston and a friend escalate to the point where Johnston jabbed the man with a knife - was impartial as he knew neither person.

The student had a "box seat" view of the altercation, and his version of events was not disputed by the defence.

He had seen the complainant drive a car towards Johnston twice, and then saw him throw his fist towards the man in the car.

That, Mr Flinn said, was when Johnston stabbed his friend of 10 years with a 45-centimetre-long knife.

But Mr Thackery said the student would have seen a knife of that size going into the car.

"He never claimed he saw Tony Johnston stab the knife through the window.

"Even if he blinked, he would have seen it coming out of the car."

The complainant's story had changed on multiple occasions, while all the witnesses gave accounts which - in part or totally - supported Johnston's version of events, Mr Thackery said.

Judge David Smith will sum up the case today for the jury of eight women and four men, before they consider a verdict.

Manawatu Standard