Self-defence: Jack James Harrington, 21, of Nelson, in Invercargill's court on Monday


A jury trial for a man who stabbed two others in Queenstown in 2019’s expected to
conclude today.

Jack James Harrington, 21, of Nelson, has copped to stabbing George McKenzie Nielson and Ryan Graham Boe about 2.20am on August 18, 2019, but he’s denied wounding them with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, arguing he was acting in self-defence.

The trail began in Invercargill’s court on Monday.

Crown solicitor Mary-Jane Thomas said there’d been a fight between ‘‘drunk, stupid and young men’’.

Nielson and Boe were part of a group of eight from Wellington, in the resort for a ski trip.

They’d been at a local watering hole till about 2.15am and were walking back to their accommodation when they passed Harrington and a group he was with in Beach Street.

Thomas says someone from the complainants’ group made a ‘‘dumb comment’’ about a hat, which sparked an argument and a fight followed.

CCTV footage, shown to jurors, showed Boe running towards a man in Harrington’s group before hitting him over the head with a bottle.

That was inexcusable, she said, and he’d subsequently been charged and dealt with by the court.

Following that, the footage showed Harrington rush in, pull out a knife, and stab Boe four times, before he stabbed Neilson and fled, she said.

Thomas asked the jury to determine the level of violence, and the circumstances  surrounding the incident, which she described as ‘‘serious’’.

‘‘I want to be really clear.

‘‘When we’re talking about stabbing, the injuries, we are not talking about little scratches.’’

Boe and Neilson were flown to Dunedin Hospital for surgery.

Boe sustained lacerations to his liver, while Nielson had them to his stomach and a wound to his bladder.

Thomas says Harrington, meanwhile, hopped a flight to Australia the following day but was detained in Sydney.

He returned to New Zealand where he declined to make a statement.

Defence counsel Bill Dawkins said there was no denying Harrington stabbed the men.

He did, however, challenge his client’s intention.

‘‘Both ended up with serious injuries, you’ve got that, but this was not his purpose,’’ Dawkins told the jury.

‘‘That is not what he had on his mind in the split second that he acted on both occasions.’’

He asked jurors to look carefully at the case ‘‘through the lens’’ of the defendant — what the circumstances were, from Harrington’s point of view, and what he was confronted with when he had the knife.

The maximum penalty for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm is 14 years’ imprisonment.