Excessive self-defence

A MERBEIN woman who stabbed her victim in the back multiple times in his own home has been sentenced on the basis of excessive self-defence.

Appearing before the County Court in Mildura, Casey Jade Scott was sentenced to 5½ months’ jail, already served, and placed on a community corrections order with 300 hours work across three years.

On December 2, 2017, Scott and her co-accused Shannon James Burt had returned from Adelaide and saw Scott’s step-daughter with a black-eye and swollen cheek. 

The girl had been living platonically with a young man at a Merbein house however she hit him in the face after he asked her to move out, and in retaliation he hit her with the bag he was holding, causing the girl’s injuries.

The two accused confronted the victim at his home about the injuries, and to collect some of the girl’s belongings, however a fight broke out between Burt and the victim. 

Scott pulled out clumps of the victim’s hair while he and Burt were on the floor fighting, before she stabbed the victim in the back multiple times with a knife, puncturing his lung.

At the woman’s plea hearing, Scott’s defence counsel argued she was acting in self-defence, trying to protect Burt.

Judge John Smallwood said it was on that basis she had to be sentenced, despite his reservations.

“It may have been to protect your friend but I reject any suggestion that your actions were based on fear of (the victim),” he said. 

“… excessive self-defence occurs when the attack that is made by the person who is defending is out of all proportion to the threat.

“What you did by using a knife to stab a man who was merely, in effect, wrestling with your partner, was clearly out of all proportion.

“It has to be clearly understood that this is not some fine line that you just happened to step over.”

Judge Smallwood said Scott had made progress in her rehabilitation while on bail and any further jail time would be detrimental to that and her mental health.

He said Scott did not have a history of violence or aggression and it was highly likely her actions were a result of her ice use.

As part of her corrections order she must receive treatment for drugs, alcohol and mental health issues.

Her co-accused was sentenced to 10 months’ jail, already served.

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