Murder trial told of cell chat

ON TRIAL: Daniel Ethan Smith.
ON TRIAL: Daniel Ethan Smith.

Stab wounds inflicted on William Peter Lewis were delivered with "moderate force", the retrial of murder accused Daniel Ethan Smith was told in the High Court in Timaru yesterday.

Smith, 20, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Lewis, 16, who died in Exe St, Oamaru, on April 1, 2010.

He died after being stabbed three times in the back with a 12 centimetre hunting knife.

Smith, of Oamaru, is appearing in front of Justice Dunningham and a jury of six men and six women.

Defence lawyer Christopher Stevenson told the court Smith acted in self-defence.

However, the Crown said Smith's actions on the night were "not justified and he was not acting in self-defence".

On the third day of the retrial yesterday, forensic pathologist Dr Martin Sage said Lewis died from blood loss as a result of internal and external injuries.

He told the court the stab wounds had been delivered with moderate force. One of the wounds struck a rib bone, which was partly cut through.

Sage said both of Lewis' lungs had been penetrated and his aorta was partially severed, causing an "irretrievable injury".

He said the blows were delivered in quick succession, with no evidence that any part of the knife blade had broken off on impact.

Oamaru resident Corey Douglas gave evidence of a conversation he had with Smith while in custody at the Oamaru police cells on the night of April 3, 2010.

Douglas claimed that Smith, who was being held in a nearby cell, discussed the events surrounding the night of April 1.

"He said he was getting a hard time from two fellows and one fellow died."

Douglas said Smith told him the two were following and harassing him. They were calling him names like "faggot" and "pussy".

Douglas told the court: "He said he didn't intend to kill the dude."

Another Oamaru man, Paul Turnbull, was also taken to the Oamaru police cells on the night of April 3 and overheard the accused talking.

Turnbull said he knew who Smith was and while he was in his cell he overheard him talking. He said he heard him talking about stabbing someone.

ESR forensic scientist Gary Gillespie also gave evidence about blood samples taken from the crime scene in Exe St, the accused's bedroom, and clothes of both Lewis and Smith.

DNA results showed strong scientific support that the blood on the knife's blade and handle belonged to Lewis.

Blood samples taken from a pair of jeans found on the floor of Smith's bedroom showed "an extremely strong scientific support" that the blood originated from Lewis.

The trial continues next week with the defence giving its evidence on Monday. Closing submissions will be heard on Tuesday.

The Timaru Herald