Travesty? Aussie Teen faces prison for fatally stabbing abusive father

From the story relayed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, I should be filing this under “Defensive Knife Use”. If true, and there was a pattern of abusive behavior, and his father was really choking his sibling in a drunken rage, the son was justified in using his Bear Grylls knife to stab the man to death. Prosecutors are hung up on the fact that the son stabbed his father more than 20 times, saying that the boy should have stopped when the threat had ceased. To me, it doesn’t sound like his father stopped until he was incapacitated and exsanguinating.


The teenager — who cannot be identified — was only 17 when he used one of his collection of Bear Grylls hunting knives to inflict 25 stab wounds on his 36-year-old stepfather at the family’s northern suburbs home in September 2016.

The Supreme Court was told an argument developed and the man, who had consumed eight or nine full-strength beers, first started choking the teenager’s disabled brother in the shower.

He then went to the seven-year-old girl’s room and put his hands around her neck, yelling “this is what choking looks like”.

State prosecutor Bernard Standish said the girl’s mother tried to stop her husband by hitting him over the head, but the child’s face went red and the teenager went to his room, got a knife and “lunged at the deceased, stabbing him”.

The man then started to attack the youth, who continued to stab him before yelling: “Oh my God, what have I done, I’m sorry.”

Mr Standish said the youth then went outside and dropped the knife, before going back inside to help his mother perform CPR on the man.

The youth — who is now 18 — was originally charged with murder, but last year the State accepted his guilty plea to the lesser offence of manslaughter.

A plea-bargain should never have been accepted unless it came with a promise of zero jail time, or the facts were of the case were in dispute. That does not appear to be the case, as the prosecutor is in fact calling for incarceration.

Mr Standish accepted the case was a tragic one and recognised the youth had witnessed violence being inflicted on his siblings, but said his response “was completely disproportionate” to what had happened.

“25 stab wounds was simply too many. There must have come a time there was some sort of appreciation that enough was enough,” he said.

Mr Standish also said the victim was a son and a brother whose family loved him and was suffering because of his death.

He said while the case was tragic and akin to “the battered wife syndrome”, the youth should receive an immediate term of imprisonment.

Justice Joe McGrath said one of the key issues he needed to consider was how many stab wounds would have been necessary to stop “the understandable perception” by the youth that his sister’s life was being threatened.

“He was a young man of 17. What was necessary to stop an older, larger man choking his sister?” he said.

The youth had his bail renewed until he is sentenced next week.

As the family members of the victim left court, they said they hoped justice would be done.

If the boy was justified in stabbing his father at all, he was justified in continuing to stab until he was incapacitated. He didn’t mutilate or perform an act of wanton cruelty. There was no “finishing blow” that could have been held back.

I what was likely a blind rage, I would have no expectation that a 17 year old in fear for his life, who had been subjected to years of abuse, who had witnesses his abuser choke his siblings and hit his mom, would snap and once he had begun to stab would continue to do so until the man collapsed.

I think it is incredibly telling that when the wave had subsided he was shocked and remorseful, and tried to help with CPR. That is the act of a reasonable person in my book.

To me, justice would be a pat on the back, supportive counselling, and the continued love and safety of his family. I hope the Courts agree.


  1. stuartb says:

    Given his use of a Bear Grylls knife, you could argue a case that he had no intention of inflicting any serious harm

    1. It was all I could do to not take the piece in that direction 🙂

  2. Sam L. says:

    I used to think Aussies had more sense. I was wrong.

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Travesty? Aussie Teen faces prison for fatally stabbing abusive father

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