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Fatal stabbing self defence: lawyer

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/11/2016

Dustin La Mont never meant to kill anyone when he stabbed two men on a suburban Auckland street; he was defending himself from two men looking for a fight, his lawyer has told a court.

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 film and monitor the vehicles coming and going.

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.

Opening the defence case at the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday, lawyer David Hoskin said while there was no argument La Mont had stabbed the men, it was the circumstances leading up to that moment that were in question.

He said police evidence about La Mont's "obsession" with his neighbours didn't reveal his intention, but rather how concerned he was about the activity next door.

The accused had never contemplated anyone would die on the night of the attack, Mr Hoskin said.

"He was under serious attack by two large aggressive attackers intent of meting out violence," he said.

"He instinctively reacted in the heat of the moment."

Another neighbour told the court partying and "heated arguments" had increased at No. 21 in the two years prior to the attack.

He described on one occasion hearing an argument during which a man screamed: "I'll kill you. I'll kill you" and a woman shouting: "Call the police. Call the police."

"Whoever was there appeared to me to be confrontational and aggressive," he said.

The defence will also call a clinical psychologist to tell the court La Mont's lack of memory of the event was consistent with a "fight or flight" reaction, Mr Hoskin said.

Mr Cole-Kuvarji, 23, earlier told the court he and Mr Pukeroa saw a man staring down the driveway and followed him up to the street, where he stabbed each of them in the neck without warning.

La Mont gave a police interview about a week later where he denied any involvement, but the next day admitted to the stabbing, saying he was defending himself.

He has elected not to take the stand during the trial.

Mr Hoskin said La Mont had said everything he needed to in his interviews with police.

The trial is in its third week.

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