James Alderton is set to be sentenced next month over a 2017 manslaughter charge.
James Alderton is set to be sentenced next month over a 2017 manslaughter charge.

Killer set to be sentenced soon over 2017 stabbing

THE motivations of a Murwillumbah man who pleaded guilty to a 2017 manslaughter will be taken into consideration ahead of his sentencing.

James Paul Alderton, 25, appeared before the Lismore District Court on Tuesday via video link, where final submissions were made in his sentencing proceedings.

Alderton in January pleaded guilty to manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm and wounding with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He admitted he had fatally stabbed Charles Larter, and critically injured Charles' 18-year-old son, Zackary Larter, and Joshua Mead during an altercation near Knox Park, Murwillumbah on June 6, 2017.

The stabbings occurred after a brawl in Knox Park involving Alderton and a group of teenagers.

Alderton had left the park, stole a knife from a local shop before returning to the group where the altercation escalated.

Alderton fled the scene and was chased by the group, which included Mr Larter and his son, before the fatal incident occurred.

During his time in custody, Alderton has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and other medical reports suggest he has a personality disorder, learning difficulties and other cogitative behavioural issues.

Judge Jeffery McLennan said he would need to consider Alderton's actions in the lead up to the fatal stabbing and whether he supported the offender's statement that he was also a victim.

"Where the context fits into the conduct, your client started all this the moment he brought that knife into the park," Judge McLennan said.

"His responsibility for all of this stemmed right from that very moment."

Alderton's defence barrister, Jason Watts, said his client was acting in a form of self-defence when he fatally struck Mr Larter, who had been approaching him with a pole with the intent of striking the offender.

"The context is these men lead the group of many men, many of whom were armed, and yelling threats at the offender," Mr Watts said.

"This was a melee; an affray and it was proceeding in a very dangerous way.

"For whatever reason, Charlie Larter ran after the offender, raises the pole above him long before his son is stabbed.

"The deceased is clearly intent of hitting him with that pole."

But the Crown Prosecutor said Alderton had "other options other than stabbing Mr Larter to death" and his actions were "grossly unreasonable".

Judge McLennan will deliver his judgment on July 17 in Lismore District Court, to allow him "some time to digest the material and submission" within the case.



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