COURT: Man walks free after stabbing M'boro teen
HE SPENT 55 days behind bars, charged with stabbing a Maryborough teenager.
But yesterday Nathan Swinnerton, 22, walked free from Maryborough District Court.
A jury found him not-guilty of unlawful wounding, agreeing he acted in self defence.
The 17-year-old was left with two stab wounds to his back and had to undergo surgery after an altercation at 22 Ellena St about 7am on November 29, 2017.
Defence barrister Jakub Lodziak, from Suthers George legal firm, said the stab wounds were inflicted in self defence after the teen punched him in the face.
The court heard an argument started over a debt, but then escalated when the defendant attempted to leave the residence.
He was later arrested by police at an address in Richmond Lane.
Mr Swinnerton told police he picked up the knife and stabbed the teenager before throwing the knife into the Mary River.
An ambulance attended the scene at Ellena St and took the teenager to Hervey Bay Hospital.
One of the wounds had tracked towards the spine but no organs or other areas were injured, according to facts presented to the court.
At his initial court appearance, Mr Swinnerton was denied bail after police objected to his release due to the seriousness of the alleged offence.
He spent 55 days behind bars, including Christmas Day.
On January 22, represented by defence lawyer Travis George, Mr Swinnerton was released on bail.
Mr George said that even when someone was incarcerated for a crime they did not commit and acquitted, there was no compensation available to them.
"This can be a harrowing experience for someone like Mr Swinnerton as he had not been imprisoned before and did not have a criminal history for violence," Mr George told the Chronicle yesterday.
Mr George said it would be interesting to see if this would change with the State Government's implementation of the recent Human Rights Bill.
Over the course of the two-day trial, the jury heard testimony from both Mr Swinnerton and the teenager injured in the stabbing.
The jury deliberated for about four-and-a-half hours before returning the verdict of not guilty.
Judge Brian Devereaux thanked the jury for their service, telling them as a result of the trial they now had a better understanding of the legal system than many others.
He said they had needed to grapple with the notion of self defence within a serious context.