A man who stabbed a fellow partygoer through the eye with such force that the knife embedded in his skull has today been jailed for more than eight years.
Nivard Juan Cain Smith, 20, had been having an enjoyable evening at Sam Doyle's flat-leaving party in Christchurch when a fight broke out.
The affray soon spilled outside onto Flockton Street.
As Mr Doyle, 20, tried to break up the brawl, Smith - who was subject to a sentence of intensive supervision at the time - thrust a 9cm blade into his head.
Lying in the gutter with the yellow-handled gibbing knife sticking out of his head, Mr Doyle may have died had it not been for the quick-thinking actions of the first police officer on the scene, constable Carl Christensen.
Mr Christensen, a former ambulance officer, ensured the knife was not removed from his head and applied bandaging while awaiting an ambulance.
Christchurch District Court today heard it was only "good fortune and good luck'' that he didn't die from the horrific injury, and Judge Brian Callaghan praised Mr Christensen's "sterling efforts''.
Mr Doyle still needs surgery for ongoing double vision and suffers from "ongoing psychological and emotional trauma'' which experts say could last for the rest of his life.
After a jury trial last October, Smith, unemployed of Mairehau, was found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He had denied intentionally stabbing Mr Doyle on February 16 last year.
The Crown said the stabbing had to have been done with considerable force to penetrate 8mm of skull bone at the temple.
After the incident, graphic images emerged of Mr Doyle with the knife embedded in his skull, having gone through his temple and eye socket.
He has made a remarkable recovery after several delicate operations.
Mr Doyle was in court today to watch Smith get sentenced to an eight year, three month jail sentence.
Crown prosecutor Catherine Butchard disputed any self-defence argument, saying the stabbing was "entirely gratuitous''.
"This was one extremely violent act, and really it is only good fortune and good luck that Mr Doyle wasn't injured fatally or in fact had far more serious injuries, like brain damage,'' she said.
Family members of Mr Doyle had been at the party, and they have been traumatised by what they had witnessed.
"The horror of the scene cannot be underestimated,'' the prosecutor said.
Smith had previous convictions for violence, was on a sentence of intensive supervision at the time, and given that he still denies deliberately stabbing Mr Doyle, the Crown believes "the community is in need of protection from Mr Smith''.
Defence counsel Philip Allan said Smith had written an apologetic letter to Mr Doyle after reflection of the events.
"He is remorseful in that he wishes every day that he hadn't done what he did,'' Mr Allan said.
Judge Brian Callaghan accepted there was no suggestion that Smith went to the party with any criminal intent. "But he did do it,'' he said.
"To say that the complainant was lucky is an understatement.''