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Were a son's actions reasonable when he stabbed his father to death?

The young man says he was protecting his mum and family from his abusive dad, the Crown says it was murder.

The trial of the accused, whose identity is suppressed, began nearly a month ago in the High Court at Auckland.


Today, the jury and Justice Ailsa Duffy are listening to closing submissions from Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes and defence counsel Denise Wallwork.

The father was compared earlier in the trial to the Once Were Warriors character Jake "the Muss" Heke.

Several suppression orders prevent the Herald from revealing explicit details about the killing, which occurred in South Auckland last year.

The father died on the deck of the son's home.

Earlier in the night the father had seriously assaulted his wife, punching her several times to the face and kicking her.

Attempting to seek refuge, she took one of her young children and fled to her son's home. The father followed.

He banged on the doors and abused the family from outside the home, with doors locked and curtains drawn.

The police were called but before they arrived the son attempted to confront his father.

A violent minute later the father was found lying on the deck, stabbed six times, and bleeding.

"That's why I grabbed the knife, because if I go out there [with nothing] he's going to give me a big hiding," the accused explained in his police interview.

"Seeing my mum, I knew what he was going to do to me he would do to her, that's why I grabbed the knife."

Kayes asked the jury today: "Was what he did in defence of himself or another?

"Are you sure that the force that he used was not reasonable?"

Wallwork reread parts of the defendant's statement to police in an attempt to show his state of mind after the stabbing.

"I didn't mean to do it," the young man said. "I hope he doesn't die – he's a bastard, but I love my dad."

The burden is on the Crown to prove the son wasn't acting in self-defence and also must prove that the force used was not reasonable, Kayes explained.

"What [was] the risk, as far as the defendant knew, when his father came at him on the deck?

"The evidence just simply doesn't support that he was fearing for his life that night, or that anyone else did."

Kayes said the father made "no real effort" to come inside the home, as evident from the lack of any damage to the windows and doors.

"You may think if [the father] really wanted to get inside the house, he's the sort of the man that would've done so.

"When you strip away all the emotion, the sympathy and the prejudice, it's just a simple fact," Kayes said.

"Murder is still murder, even if it is impulsive, unplanned and instantly regrettable."