A Whangarei man who stabbed his son to death with a knife during an argument while drinking was a victim of his own offending and has to forever live with the consequence of his actions, a judge said.
Justice Patrick Keane made the comment in the High Court at Whangarei yesterday while sentencing Phillip Beazley to four years in prison on one charge of manslaughter. He killed the youngest of his three children, Leonard Nigel Kingi, 25, at a house on Balmoral Rd, Tikipunga, on January 26, last year. Beazley, 61, was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on February 18, about two weeks before the start of his trial.
He argued he acted in self-defence after his son, armed with a 30cm knife, attacked him from behind before the weapon then fell into his hands in the early hours of January 26, 2015. Justice Keane said about 6pm on January 25, 2015, a friend of Beazley and another man arrived at the Balmoral Rd house with rum, whisky and beer.
They began drinking on the deck of the house and his other family members, including Mr Kingi, joined them at different times.
Beazley's friends left before midnight and his partner and daughter went to bed about the same time.
His daughter was woken up by Beazley and Mr Kingi arguing on the driveway and they ignored her plea for them to stop. She then woke her mother up and when she looked out, she saw Mr Kingi drop to the ground and Beazley's face was covered in blood while he stood next to his son.
His wife asked what happened and he replied he had killed him. An ambulance was called and Beazley walked away from the scene but turned around, walked back, knelt down and embraced Mr Kingi who was pronounced dead by St John paramedics.
A post-mortem examination the next day revealed he suffered wounds to his abdomen, sternum, and another between 170mm and 190mm in depth to his chest which caused his death. Beazley told police his son attacked him from behind on the deck and both struggled to the ground before the knife fell into his hands and Mr Kingi was stabbed.
Crown solicitor Mike Smith said Beazley's family was in a difficult situation and there was nothing in particular they wanted to say through victim impact statements. He said they thought a plea for manslaughter was the most appropriate outcome.
Beazley's lawyer Arthur Fairley said his client continued to enjoy the support of his whanau and if the case had gone to trial, it would have been a very difficult time for them. It was not a case where a weapon was taken to the scene, there was violence and threats, and someone ended up being killed, he submitted.
Historically, Mr Fairley said there were flare-ups between the father and son but Mr Kingi came to live with Beazley when he broke up with his partner.
Justice Keane said Beazley could have thrown the knife well away from his son and that there was no need for him to act in the way he did.
"You yourself are a victim of your own offence. You'd have to live throughout your life with what happened that night. The tragedy within your family is all too evident," he said.