'He was a monster' - Killed man compared to Jake the Muss

7:09 am on 15 May 2018

A lawyer for the man accused of murdering his father says the dead man lived the lifestyle of the Once Were Warriors character 'Jake the Muss'.

The court has heard the deceased man described as a bully and a monster.

The trial at the High Court in Auckland is shrouded in extensive suppression orders.

The names of the accused, his dead father, or exactly where and when the killing happened can not be reported.

The Crown say the accused killed his father. The son's lawyers say he was acting in self-defence.

Through-out today's opening statements, the son - aged in his 20s - sat in the dock, weeping.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes said on the day of the killing, the father returned home from work and was violent.

"He seriously assaulted his wife. He punched her in the face a number of times and also kicked her a number of times."

She gathered up her baby and headed to the house where her son and other family members lived. But the father followed on his motorcycle.

Mr Kayes said the father was angry and accused a daughter of stealing from him. He also assaulted her.

He left but returned later that night, angry.

"The reasons [he gave] was that she'd gone to the children's house and brought them into their fight. And he told her to pack up her things ... In fact he directed the defendant and the defendant's little brother ... to start packing up Mum's things."

While they were away, there was another argument with the father demanding the keys to a car and driving off.

But he returned a third time and was still angry.

"You'll hear evidence that he stood outside on a deck, out the front of the property, yelling at the family, banging on the walls. The family were all inside at this point, they'd locked the doors, turned off the lights, in the hope that he might leave."

The son's partner called out that the police had been called. A short time later some of the family saw a car drive off.

But before the police arrived, the son took a 27cm long knife and went outside.

Mr Kayes said no one apart from the father and son saw what happened next, but a short time later the family found the unarmed father dead on the deck from stab wounds.

"The defendant told the police that he'd gone outside of the house, holding a knife at his right-hand side. He'd told police that he peered around the corner of the house."

The son also said his father had come out of the dark, punched him in the head. He fell to the ground and was punched again before he stabbed his father.

Mr Kayes said experts will give evidence about what happened on the deck, including a pathologist who found six stab wounds in the father - indulging one to the head and another, the fatal wound, to his chest.

In contrast, a doctor who examined the son found he had grazes and minor cuts to his hand - in short, virtually unscathed.

Mr Kayes said he anticipated the son's lawyers to argue self-defence.

"The Crown says that using the knife as he did, for him to be justified, the Crown says, the defendant needs to have ... anticipated a very dire and imminent threat and the Crown says the evidence, as you consider at the end of trial, won't support that."

A lawyer for the son, Elaine Ward, said her client had acted in self-defence against a man who had a history of violence and methamphetamine use. She described the father as a bully.

"He was a monster. He terrorised his family, both emotionally and physically."

She said on the night of the killing, the father had tormented his family for hours.

"If you are familiar with the iconic New Zealand film, Once Were Warriors, a film that showcased family violence at its absolute worst, then you will be familiar with the main character, Jake the Muss."

She said the father embodied Jake the Muss.

His son, on the other hand, had shunned that life. He worked seven days a week, had never been in trouble with the law and loves his family.

The trial before Justice Duffy and a jury is set down for three weeks.