Brother rejects stabbing claim

By Sandra Conchie

A witness in the trial of man accused of stabbing his 35-year-old brother in the stomach claims she overheard the injured man say to the accused "you stabbed me".

Phillip Wipatene Hunter, 30, whose jury trial began in Tauranga District Court yesterday, has denied one count of wounding with intent to injure.

The charge relates to an allegation he stabbed Regan Hunter in the stomach on March 27, 2012, during a heated argument at the Mount Maunganui home they shared.

Crown prosecutor Richard Jenson, during his opening address, told the jury the knife pierced two layers of clothing before entering the victim's left upper stomach. He required keyhole surgery to repair the wound, but there was no damage to his internal organs.

Mr Jenson said that after the argument the brothers headed to the Z petrol station on Maunganui Rd, where the accused got out and briefly went inside and, following further yelling and swearing between the pair, the victim walked off.

He said police spoke to the accused shortly after the stabbing and he had stated he wanted to take responsibility for his brother's injury.

Ultimately the jury must decide whether Phillip Hunter deliberately stabbed his brother and in doing so intended to injury him, he said.

Mr Jenson said the jury would hear evidence from witnesses including the police officer who sat in on the 111 call made by the accused to ambulance staff but not from Regan Hunter, who is unwilling to give evidence against his brother.

"The Crown says this is simple case of brotherly angst spilling over into a violent stabbing leaving one of the brothers hospitalised with a serious injury," he said.

Rosalene Hunter, sister of the men, made a written statement to police on the afternoon of the stabbing but has also become a reluctant prosecution witness.

The jury heard that she told police she had visited the house on the day of the stabbing but did not witness her brother get stabbed. She did, however, get in between them to try to stop them arguing, and was later told by the accused Regan had been stabbed.

She also told police she saw a bloodied pillow in the back of the car he was driving.

But under questioning from Mr Jenson, she repeatedly claimed she could not remember telling the police that, although conceded it was her signature on the document.

During further questioning, the accused pleaded with the prosecutor to leave his sister alone, and a weepy Miss Hunter said: "I told police I don't want to be here or have anything to do with them ... I know he [Phillip Hunter] didn't do it."

A female forecourt attendant working at the petrol station on March 27 last year gave evidence that she witnessed a heated confrontation between the brothers after an "agitated" accused had driven in with a bloodied Regan Hunter seated in the back seat.

The woman said that during the argument she heard the injured man say to the accused "you stabbed me" before he walked off down the road and, concerned, she followed him and called 111.

But under cross-examination by the accused's lawyer Craig Horsley she conceded she had not mentioned the argument or the "you stabbed me" comment when she spoke to police on March 27.

Nor did she mention it when she signed her written statement about what she saw and heard.

The trial is expected to conclude today.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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