Years after stabbing Benjamin Suttie when Harley David Wegener was a child, he is accused of slitting the same man’s throat in a chance and fatal encounter.
Wegener, 34, pleaded not guilty to murder in the Brisbane Supreme Court after Mr. Suttie was stabbed in the neck by a “scalpel-like” weapon south of Brisbane in August 2018.
Mr. Suttie, 37, died three days after an important artery was severed by an extremely sharp instrument during a nightly altercation between two groups in Prince Park, Woodridge, the court heard.
The Crown argues that Wegener may have had a “degree of animosity” towards Mr. Suttie after an accident that occurred years earlier when they lived in the same Logan trailer park.
At the time, Mr. Suttie confronted a 13-year-old Wegener who he believed was threatening a boy and gave him a headache.
Teenager Wegener then pulled out a knife, waving it before stabbing Mr. Suttie in the thigh.
“There hasn’t been any litigation,” Crown Attorney Greg Cummings told the jury Tuesday.
Wegener also told his girlfriend days after the Prince Park incident that he stabbed Mr. Suttie when he was younger because he “touched” him, according to the Crown.
“You can … come to the conclusion that there was some degree of animosity on the part of the defendant towards Ben and that could give him a reason to be violent towards him,” Mr. Cummings told the jury.
But he said the childhood incident was only relevant if the jury found that Wegener recognized Mr. Suttie in the “very dark” park before his neck was cut in 2018.
The Crown claims that Wegener’s and Mr Suttie’s respective groups met by chance around 11pm in the park four years ago.
A drunk Mr. Suttie was returning from a night out with three other people, including his 19-year-old son, when they passed Wegener’s group of five which included two children aged four and eight, the court said.
The Crown claims Wegener got into a fight after an unarmed Mr. Suttie said “how are you guys” to the other group as he passed.
In the ensuing brawl, Wegener pulled his gun from a satchel and targeted Mr. Suttie in the throat, Mr. Cummings said.
Wegener fled after the alleged attack that caused blood to leak from Mr. Suttie’s throat, the court heard.
The weapon was never found.
Mr. Suttie’s carotid artery was severed by a sharp, scalpel-like object that produced an extremely clean cut, Mr. Cummings said.
He said it was so clean that when medical staff reached the artery, they simply stitched it back together without preparing any of the ends, which was extremely rare.
However, Mr. Suttie’s life support system was disabled days later after multiple organ failure caused by severe blood loss.
The trial before Judge Melanie Hindman continues.