Crown: Stabbing 'makes sense'

By -
Manslaughter accused Juliette Gerbes (in white jacket) leaves court yesterday, with her supporters. Photo / Warren Buckland
Manslaughter accused Juliette Gerbes (in white jacket) leaves court yesterday, with her supporters. Photo / Warren Buckland

A jury will this morning resume deliberations in the trial of a woman charged with fatally stabbing her boyfriend during a heated argument.

Juliette Anne Gerbes, 21, is on trial in the High Court at Napier after pleading not guilty to manslaughter.

Her boyfriend, Christopher Jones, died after suffering a knife wound to the abdomen in the early hours of October 13, 2012.

Gerbes denies causing the wound and said instead her boyfriend pulled the knife into himself in the midst of a heated argument.

The trial began on Monday with counsel for both the prosecution and the defence making their closing arguments yesterday morning.

The jury of seven women and five men retired to deliberate at 12pm yesterday before finishing for the day at 5pm.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Walker told the jury to put aside feelings of sympathy and prejudice when deciding on their verdict.

He said the case lay with whether or not the jury believed Gerbes stabbed Mr Jones or if the wound was self-inflicted.

"The wound was located on Mr Jones left side, the front of the abdomen and angled towards his middle and down slightly. That simply doesn't fit with her description of what happened."

Gerbes alleged, in a recorded interview with police, that she had picked up the knife with her left hand and held it to the left side of her body before Mr Jones, who was facing her, pulled her towards him.

Mr Walker said the wound, in its direction and location, did not fit Gerbes' explanation that Mr Jones had pulled the knife into himself.

"It does fit with her using her right hand to inflict the wound."

Mr Walker said it was "highly implausible" that anyone would pull a knife into their own body, least of all Mr Jones.

"It defies common sense that anyone would do that.

"He's larger than her, he's not intimidated by her ... Ms Gerbes described him at times as being controlling, dominant and arrogant."

Mr Walker said some of the previous violence in the relationship had been initiated by Gerbes and she had not been afraid to stand up to him in the past.

"The Crown is not saying that because she had previously hit him that she stabbed him. What the Crown is saying is that you must assess what happened in the kitchen in the context of her previously being willing to use violence against him."

Mr Walker told the jury Gerbes' version of events did not make sense.

"It makes sense that she stabbed him because she had had enough and she lost it ... She picked up the knife to send a message to him, and that message was a threat. 'Don't mess with me, back off, I'm serious'.

"The only logical and plausible conclusion is that she lost it and using her right hand she has then thrust the knife into him."

Mr Walker said the Crown did not accept that she was using reasonable force in self defence.

"All she had to do was call for help, but she dealt with it unfortunately in her own way and what she did went way beyond reasonable force, way beyond what was justifiable.

"As much as she may now regret it, she is criminally responsible for his death."

Defence counsel Eric Forster said his client had been upfront about her use of violence in the relationship but that these acts should be considered in the context of arguments the couple would have.

He said Gerbes had previously been slapped, punched and choked by Mr Jones, resulting, on one occasion, in a severe black eye.

Mr Forster said that Gerbes' account of the incident was the only direct evidence involved in the case. He told the jury that if they come to the conclusion Gerbes' account of how the stabbing occurred was a reasonable possibility, that indicates there is reasonable doubt and she should be found not guilty.

Mr Forster said there were no defensive wounds on Mr Jones' hands or forearms to indicate he had tried to fight off the knife.

"How could she transfer the knife from her left hand to her right hand and get a clear shot at the abdomen? What does make sense, as she said, is that there was a struggle for the knife."

He said Gerbes was unclear about how exactly the wound occurred because she was not the one applying the force.

Gerbes' version of events had been consistent from the very beginning and she had not been particularly "self serving" in her interviews with police.

"If she was lying to them you would think she would have done a better job at getting herself off the hook."

For more articles from this region, go to

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 01 Aug 2014 22:00:48 Processing Time: 593ms