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Woman who stabbed attacker walks free

Saturday, 21st June, 2014

A young woman who stabbed a man in the back has been spared jail after she was found to have done so to protect her sister from him.

The man had pulled the woman’s sister to the ground by her hair and was standing over her when Ada Etrich (21) rushed to her aid and stabbed him with a knife that punctured his lung, Ms Etrich’s lawyer, William Buxton, told the Local Court yesterday.

Ms Etrich pleaded guilty to the charge of reckless wounding, but Mr Buxton said she was a person of good character who had never been in trouble before and that she had only attacked the man to defend her sister.

According to police, the incident happened on Christmas night last year at a house in Wolfram Street immediately after the man had got into a violent argument with another man and had also grabbed Ms Etrich’s sister in a headlock when she tried to intervene.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy told the court that the victim’s lung had collapsed as a result of the stabbing and that the serious offence of reckless wounding was always punished by a jail term.

But this, he said, was “one of the rare cases” in which a suspended sentence was wholly justified.

“The victim had been behaving in a very violent manner and had assaulted a number of people, and she had reacted to save her sister,” Mr Dunlevy said.

Her action was excessive, he said, but was performed in a panic and “not out of malice”.

Mr Dunlevy said it was also her first offence, that she was unlikely to reoffend and that he was satisfied that was genuinely sorry for what she had done.

He sentenced Ms Etrich to 15 months’ jail, wholly suspended and replaced with a good behaviour bond of the same length.

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