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Refugee with PTSD acquitted of NSW murder

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016

A refugee who was tortured in his native Ethiopia has been found not guilty of murder, but guilty of the manslaughter of his wife in their Sydney flat.

The NSW Supreme Court jury heard psychiatric evidence that Solomon Hailu Jenbare, 52, suffered PTSD and depression, conditions that amounted to the partial defence of substantial impairment.

He stabbed Wubanchi Asfaw, 25, to death in April 2014 and her mother sobbed loudly as the jury delivered its verdict on Tuesday.

The Crown did not accept Jenbare's guilty plea to the less serious charge.

While not disputing he had the serious mental conditions, prosecutor Paul Lynch argued their effects did not justify reducing his liability from murder.

Jenbare stabbed his wife seven or eight times with a kitchen knife after a late-night fight.

"The accused got annoyed about (her) proposition that she was going to marry a distant relative and somehow bring him to Australia in a sham marriage," Mr Lynch said.

Defence lawyer Belinda Riggs SC noted medical records, dating from when he came to Australia in 1999, referring to his PTSD flowing from his torture in Ethiopia and his witnessing violent events, as well as the many operations he underwent on his deformed hands and feet.

She argued his mental conditions impaired his capacity to control himself at the relevant time and his ability to judge right from wrong.

He faces a sentence hearing on Monday.

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