Manslaughter verdict for one punch killing

on Posted in Australia.

Manslaughter verdict for one punch killing

The Sydney Morning Herald

Louise Hall

June 11,2015


Guilty: Shaun McNeil.

Guilty: Shaun McNeil. Photo: Facebook

Shaun McNeil has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter for the one-punch killing of Daniel Christie.

On Thursday afternoon, a NSW Supreme Court jury came to an unanimous verdict after earlier indicating they were clearly divided.

Daniel Christie died in Kings Cross on New Year's Eve, 2013.

Daniel Christie died in Kings Cross on New Year's Eve, 2013. Photo: Facebook

Sitting in the dock, McNeil cried with relief.


It can be revealed McNeil's lawyers had applied to have the case heard by judge alone, but this was rejected and he was tried before a jury.

McNeil, 27, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Christie, 18, in Kings Cross on New Year's Eve 2013.

Shaun McNeil.

Shaun McNeil. Photo: Supplied

However, the Crown did not accept his plea and prosecuted him for murder.

On Thursday, the 12-person jury told Justice Robert Allan Hulme that, after much "review and discussion", they could not come to a unanimous decision.

Justice Hulme told the jury to continue their deliberations and carefully consider each other's views.

He said the key issue was McNeil's intent when he punched Mr Christie in the face.

The teenager fell backwards and hit his head on the concrete. He died from head injuries.

Justice Hulme said that, to find him guilty of murder, the jury had to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt McNeil intended to cause Mr Christie "really serious bodily harm".

The punch caused some injury to Mr Christie's jaw but it was the fall that caused his death.

During the trial, the jury saw a video of an interview between police and McNeil.

He said he mistook Mr Christie as being part of a group of teenage drug dealers who had offered him drugs moments earlier.

McNeil got into a scuffle with those youths. He told police he thought the teenagers were coming to attack him again and he acted in self-defence.

Justice Hulme said the mistake was irrelevant. What mattered was McNeil's actual belief at the time.

Mr Christie's father Michael, who had attended much of the trial, was not in court to hear the verdict.

He and Mr Christie's mother, Maureen, were informed of the verdict outside the court.

McNeil will be sentenced on August 21.


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