8 Aug 2017

Accused 'too drunk' for intentional killing, court told

7:05 pm on 8 August 2017

The lawyer for a woman accused of murdering her friend at a pamper party in Auckland says her client was so drunk she couldn't have intended to kill.

Anna Browne is on trial in the High Court in Auckland over the fatal stabbing of Carly Stewart in October last year.

Ms Browne has pleaded not guilty to murder, but accepts that she did stab Ms Stewart and the blow caused her death.

In her closing arguments to the jury, Ms Browne's lawyer, Marie Dyhrberg, said the party was meant to be a chance for a group of friends to catch up, have a few drinks, get their nails done and have fun.

But the day took an ugly turn.

Ms Dyhrberg said her client had been drinking heavily and was very intoxicated - so drunk that she couldn't have had murderous intent.

However, because tests were not carried out as soon as possible, Ms Dyhrberg said it was not known for sure how much alcohol and other drugs were in her system.

When she attacked Ms Stewart, Ms Dyhrberg said Ms Browne did not challenge her to a fight or appear violent - she simply whimpered.

After the attack, Ms Browne was confused and she did not know what she had done, the defence said.

Ms Browne also made no attempt to flee the scene and she was there when the police arrived.

Ms Dyhrberg said if you knew what you were doing, you wouldn't murder someone in front of a group of witnesses, nor would you go back to the scene once the police had arrived.

Before the attack, Ms Dyhrberg said there was no evidence of ill-feeling between Ms Browne and Ms Stewart, and no one sensed that something was about to go very wrong.

Earlier, Crown prosecutor Nick Webby told the jury that Ms Browne's attack on Ms Stewart wasn't a random, drunken flail - it was a carefully directed blow to Ms Stewart's head.

The stab wound was about 11 centimetres deep and Ms Stewart died after losing a massive amount of blood.

Mr Webby said that Ms Browne had deliberately picked up the biggest knife in the kitchen, which was about 30 centimetres long, before she attacked.

He said that Ms Browne wasn't too drunk to know what she was doing and was able to form an intent to kill Ms Stewart - Ms Browne tried to conceal the knife both before and after the stabbing.

Further, Mr Webby said Ms Browne kept changing her story to the police about what drugs she had taken and at one point suggested her drink had been spiked.

She also feined delirium and psychosis.

Mr Webby said that showed Ms Browne had gone into damage control mode over what she had done.

Justice Wylie will sum up the case to the jury tomorrow morning.