A verbal fight between brothers-in-law over noise ended when one plunged a knife 20cm into the chest of the other man, killing him within minutes.
James McFarlane Snr is standing trial in the High Court at Rotorua for the murder of Thunder Savage at a family home in Edgecumbe in the Eastern Bay of Plenty on October 2, 2019.
It is the defence's case that McFarlane Snr was protecting his son from Savage.
Prosecutor Sefton Revell outlined the Crown's case to the jury of seven women and five men during his opening address today.
Several family members were living at the home on Hydro Rd in Edgecumbe. About 8am on the day of the alleged murder, McFarlane Snr argued with Savage over his noise, including banging cupboard doors.
Revell told the jury the verbal argument turned physical and there were lots of raised voices.
McFarlane Snr's son, James McFarlane Jnr, was sleeping outside in the garage. He heard the commotion and came inside and started fighting with Savage.
Savage had grabbed an oyster shucker knife from a kitchen draw and was threatening them with it, Revell said.
McFarlane Snr went to get a knife from his truck that had an 18.5cm blade.
As Savage raised his arm with the oyster shucker in his left hand, McFarlane Snr plunged his knife deep into Savage's chest under his arm, in a downward motion.
Revell said the blade sliced through Savage's fifth rib and partially through his sixth rib. The knife went into his left lung and his heart.
Revell told the jury McFarlane Snr initially told police Savage must have fallen on the knife and stabbed himself. However, two weeks after Savage died, McFarlane contacted police and admitted he had been the one who stabbed Savage.
Revell said there was no disagreement Macfarlane Snr stabbed Savage but the main area of dispute was what was going through his mind when he stabbed his brother-in-law.
Revell said while the defence would argue the accused was only protecting his son, it was the Crown's case that McFarlane Jnr had the upper hand over Savage - so much so that McFarlane Snr left them to get the knife.
"He knew where it was, he knew what it was and he wanted to use it ... The Crown says he saw the opportunity and took it," Revell said.
The Crown said he wasn't acting to defend his son because of the excessive force he used to plunge the knife into Savage's chest.
"He appreciated the consequences of using the knife but he did it anyway."
Revell said if the jury didn't agree, they would find McFarlane Snr guilty of manslaughter.
In a brief opening address to the jury, defence lawyer Caitlin Gentleman said the case related to a fast-moving situation.
"Mr Macfarlane accepts he stabbed Mr Savage but he says he was acting in defence of his son."
She said the jury would need to consider whether the force was reasonable.
McFarlane Snr's wife and Savage's sister, Beverley McFarlane, was the Crown's first witness. She said during questioning from Crown prosecutor Duncan McWilliam that her family went to live at the home about a year earlier after Savage asked her to help look after their mother.
She said Savage had been asked to leave the family home because he would regularly argue with their father.
She said her brother would often yell loudly and spit and swear in their father's face.
"He would say to him 'your kid's dead' and call my father horrible words ... My dad would be shaking when Thunder was like that with him."
She said at one point Savage brought the Mongrel Mob to her parents' gate and they were bashing the gate.
The night before he died, there was an incident in the family home when Savage approached his mother, who was sitting beside the fire, and told her "one of your children is going to die and I need a lot of bullets", Beverley McFarlane said.
She said her brother was laughing as he said it and it made her feel scared, so she put some drawers in front of a cupboard where her father kept his hunting firearms.
"I was scared he would do something."
The next morning, she arrived back at the house after getting her mother's medication to hear Savage yelling.
As she entered the house, she saw her husband and son fighting with Savage. Savage had his back to her but she could see he was lunging forward into her son and he had a knife (the oyster shucker) in his hand.
"The knife was so close to my son's neck."
She said she grabbed Savage around his waist and as she did so he fell backwards into her.
It was then she noticed a lot of blood and wasn't sure where it was coming from. She lifted up Savage's top and saw he had been stabbed.
She said she told everyone to ring the police and an ambulance. When police arrived they tried CPR. Ambulance paramedics took over a short time later but Savage was pronounced dead at 9.05pm.
"I knew he was gone and there was just nothing," she said.
The trial is before Justice Paul Davison and is set down for two weeks.