MITCHELL Anthony Winefield has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Nambucca Heads teenager Caleb Jarrett.
The jury’s verdict was met by tears and emotional outbursts from distraught family members of the deceased yesterday.
Immediately after the judgement, some family members left the packed Coffs Harbour courtroom.
The 12-member panel began its deliberations on Tuesday afternoon after it heard 15 days of trial evidence.
It returned to the courtroom with the verdict at 2pm yesterday.
Winefield, 45, was charged with the fatal stabbing of Caleb Jarrett, 18, after a late night altercation in Mann St, Nambucca Heads on February 14, 2009.
He has been remained in custody since his arrest and is due to be sentenced before Supreme Court Judge Justice Elizabeth Fullerton in Coffs Harbour on April 20-21.
In discharging the jury, Justice Fullerton noted the importance of bringing finality to the matter, to ensure ’closure’.
“I anticipate as much as you would expect me to that this has been trying for members of the deceased’s family and members of his community,” she said.
Justice Fullerton also praised the jurors for their focused attention in reviewing the evidence and reaching a verdict.
Members of the Jarrett family now have the opportunity to submit victim impact statements through the Crown for the judge’s consideration prior to sentencing.