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Drugs led to fatal stabbing, defence says

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/11/2016

Auckland resident Dustin La Mont stabbed two men in self defence because they were violently shoving and questioning him in a bid to protect more than $70,000 in stashed cash and drugs, his lawyer says.

La Mont, 26, is accused of murdering 24-year-old Whangarei man Nathan Pukeroa outside a house in Mount Albert in the early hours of December 3 and grievously wounding Devaray Junior Cole-Kuvarji in the same knife attack.

Prosecutors say La Mont became obsessed with getting his neighbours at 21 Renton Road evicted because of frustration with their mid-week parties and Mongrel Mob activities and went so far as to secretly film them.

On the night of the killing, La Mont sent out a series of angry tweets about a loud party, grabbed a knife and went towards next door, the Crown says.

But defence lawyer David Hoskin summarised his case at Auckland High Court on Thursday by saying it was absurd to suggest La Mont had intentionally attacked his "dangerous" neighbours.

Instead, he said the key to understanding why the stabbings occurred was the presence of large-scale meth dealing at the house.

He said the property's occupants possessed one ounce of methamphetamine worth $8000 and at least $70,000 cash intended for the purchase of more drugs at the time of the incident.

Wary of an unexpected visit by police or rival gang members looking to rob them, this led Pukeroa and Cole-Kuvarji to aggressively confront La Mont when they found him looking down the property's driveway, Mr Hoskin said.

He said La Mont tried to get away, but the men blocked his path and threw a punch at him, before he stabbed them in self defence.

Mr Hoskin said Pukeroa and Cole-Kuvarji were intimidating, large men with violent histories, with Cole-Kuvarji having only recently been released from jail for assaulting and robbing foreign tourists.

Mr Hoskin also rejected the Crown's allegation La Mont had become "truly odd and obsessive". He called the occupants 'neighbours from hell' with police visiting the house 11 times over a two year period because of complaints by people other than La Mont.

Incidents occurring at the address included fights, domestic assaults and instances of animal abuse and drug-use.

Mr Hoskin said all La Mont's complaints to authorities about the house next door had been courteous and reasonable.

The trial continues.

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