Perth Screwdriver Death 'A Freak Tragedy'
A recreational fisherman accused of a screwdriver stabbing murder beside Perth's Swan River argues he was acting in self-defence when the intoxicated stranger charged at him and accidentally impaled his head on the tool.
Andrew Doan, 35, had been fishing with his friend Tien Vu Huynh in East Fremantle in the early hours of December 23, 2017 when he became embroiled in an argument with Charles John McCarthy (pictured above), 32, his wife Nicole and friend Jason Mikel Curran.
Prosecutor James Mactaggart said the trio had been out drinking at a Christmas party and were walking to a hotel where they had booked an overnight stay when they passed by the fishermen who were walking up an embankment, with one dragging an esky.
Mr Curran and Mr McCarthy said something along the lines of "any luck fellas?" and "no fish there?", and Doan replied they hadn't caught anything, Mr Mactaggart told the West Australian Supreme Court on Monday.
It is not in dispute Mr Curran then said: "That'll be for Fisheries to determine", which the prosecutor described as a light-hearted comment.
However, defence counsel Michael Perrella said Doan and Mr Huynh, who are both Asian, were angered because they believed it was a racist remark.
It is also not disputed Doan pursued the trio as they walked away, swore and threatened to stab Mr McCarthy.
But Mr Perrella said the threat only came after the deceased started "shaping up" to Doan.
The lawyer said Mr McCarthy was "full of rage" and charged at his client three times after breaking free from his wife, who was hysterical and pleading for him to stop as she tried to restrain him.
Mr Perrella said Doan had gone back to his ute and was holding his arms up to protect his face - screwdriver in hand - when Mr McCarthy charged the third time, impaling himself in a "freak and tragic accident".
"There was no stabbing motion," the lawyer said.
"The real issue in this trial is how did the injury occur?"
The screwdriver penetrated through Mr McCarthy's skull to his brain and he was taken off life support the following day.
Doan remained at the scene until authorities arrived.
Mr Mactaggart said it was a deliberate act following a paranoid interpretation of a harmless comment.
The trial continues.