22 Jul 2016

Man who stabbed friend to death after dinner gets life

3:54 pm on 22 July 2016

A Coromandel man who stabbed a friend multiple times, then attacked him with a meat cleaver after he had died, has been sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 10 years.

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Photo: RNZ / Edward Gay

Anthony Ballantyne, 63, was found guilty at trial of the murder of Ivan Kapluggin, who was 76, in Whangamata in February last year.

The court heard Ballantyne continued to deny guilt and refused to say what happened.

Justice Brewer said it was inexplicable that two good friends having dinner together could end the night in such a way.

"Having sat through the trial I have no doubt at all that the jury's decision was the correct one.

"I watched you give evidence with keen attention and I wonder if you are one of those people who can construct his own reality and acquire a species of belief in it."

Justice Brewer also wondered where Ballantyne would test on a psychopathy analysis and that it was something the parole board might wish to inquire into in due course

The judge said he was left to speculate on what happened and suggested the victim, known to make acerbic comments when drinking, had laughed off talk of an invention by Ballantyne who believed it would make him a lot of money.

"I speculate that Mr Kapplugin, in an acerbic way, called your invention into question and that you became enraged.

"That is speculation, but it is the only explanation I can think of for what happened."

Justice Brewer said it appeared that in that fit of rage, Ballantyne punched Mr Kapluggin in the face and after he fell to the floor he stabbed him seven times with a knife.

"Stab wounds to his chest, neck and back. Cuts to his hands, face and body.

"The court heard Mr Kapplugin fell to the floor bleeding profusely and then died."

Justice Brewer said any doubt of Ballantyne's intention to kill was put to rest by what happened next.

"You grabbed a cleaver and struck him fiercely in the head. He was already dead by that stage but had he been alive he would not have survived that blow with the cleaver."

Justice Brewer said moves by Ballantyne to distance himself from responsibility for the crime and blame others were not realistic.

"There was simply no way that blame could attach to anybody other than yourself."