A Sydney man has claimed he acted in self-defence after stabbing his friend during a drug-fueled bender.
The men had been consuming illicit substances at an Airbnb for a number of hours before the fatality occurred, allegedly taking crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA. During this time, the accused noticed that the conversations between himself and the victim were becoming increasingly concerning in nature. The accused alleges that the victim disclosed the belief that he had a sociopathic personality, and tried to convince the accused that he was suffering the same.
Jurors at the New South Wales Supreme Court were told that the victim made it clear that "only one party was leaving the house alive", according to the Australian Associated Press. The subject matter of conversations continued to delve deeper, with the victim allegedly expressing a desire to commit suicide, according to the accused. Tensions escalated when the victim allegedly placed a large knife onto a bench, alarming the accused. Around 10 a.m., the accused grabbed this knife, and the two entered a struggle, concluding with a fatal stab to the victim's neck area.
After the stabbing, the accused apparently fled the scene and went for a drive, before returning and calling emergency services just after midday. During the call, the accused admitted to killing his friend with a knife, and disclosed the details of their drug use. While the accused asserts that he was not guilty under self-defence, the Crown notes that the actions taken after the incident were not typical of those who act under these circumstances.
What constitutes self-defence?
According to The Crimes Act 1900, self-defence is physical action taken believed to be necessary to defend themselves, their property, or others from harm. Under Part 7, section 52 of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW), civil liability isn't obliged if a person is proven to have acted in self-defence, and limits on compensation sought from opposing parties if self-defence cannot be proved.
If self-defence cannot be proved or is disagreed, an investigation will need to be carried out to prove that the action taken was not irrational or excessive in staying safe. In the instance of the aforementioned case, proving self-defence may be difficult due to the psychoactive substances had been consuming. Because of this drug use, it is unclear whether the accused was of sound mind when defending himself, or whether the risk of attack from the victim was real or perceived in a drugged state.
If you have been involved in an incident where you acted in self-defence, it is important to seek the guidance of legal experts to back your case. Get in touch with the specialists in liability claims, Gerard Malouf & Partners.