Man stabbed in self-defence, jury finds

Last updated 15:05 18/02/2014

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A jury has found a Palmerston North man not guilty of wounding a man with intent to injure, after his defence successfully argued that he stabbed the complainant in self-defence.

They also found Anthony William Johnston, 51, not guilty of an alternative charge of assault with a weapon.

Johnston has been on trial for the past week in the Palmerston North District Court, with the charges stemming from an incident on March 9, 2012.

A friend of Johnston's was at his house during that day to watch a game of cricket.

Johnston got a phone call from his ex-partner, and during the conversation the friend started yelling rude comments about the woman.

The two began to fight, at one stage Johnston's friend bottled him with a beer bottle.

He then left the house, while Johnston went to the kitchen and grabbed a 45-centimetre-long knife.

He went outside, and was met by his friend who was in a car.

He twice tried to run Johnston down with the car, to which Johnston responded by stabbing the man in the shoulder through the open car window.

Crown prosecutor Daniel Flinn argued the stabbing was a deliberate act, which happened because Johnston was angry at his friend's comments.

But defence lawyer Tony Thackery successfully argued Johnston feared for his life, and stabbed his friend in self-defence. 

The jury deliberated for two hours before coming back with a verdict.

Before they were sent out this morning, Judge David Smith said Johnston had always admitted wounding his friend in the shoulder with the knife.

The jury had to decide if the stabbing was deliberate, and if Flinn had given enough evidence to prove it was not in self-defence.

The two men, who had been friends for 10 years, are no longer on good terms.

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- Manawatu Standard


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