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Wellington woman stabbed brother after row over alcohol cans, cannabis

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A woman who dreams of becoming a drug and alcohol counsellor has escaped conviction for twice stabbing her brother. Stock photo / 123rf

A young woman lunged at her brother and stabbed him in the back twice after discovering he left empty alcohol cans on the deck and tipped her cannabis stash all over the floor.

But despite the man spending two days in hospital, his 24-year-old sister has escaped conviction and had her name suppressed to safeguard her dream career as a drug and alcohol counsellor.

The Wellington woman appeared in the Hutt Valley District Court this afternoon on a single charge of injuring with reckless disregard in relation to the stabbing which happened at around 3am on October 9, 2022.

She had arrived home and discovered empty alcohol cans on the deck of a property she shared with her mum and brother. She complained to her mum but her brother overheard the conversation and in turn he complained that his sister had been consuming cannabis.

The brother picked up his sister’s “cannabis scraps” and followed the victim to her room, but she stopped him from entering.

The brother then emptied the cannabis scraps on the floor before the woman stabbed him with a 9cm foldable knife twice in the lower back.

The attack left the victim with a 2cm wound in the lower back, resulting in blood loss, penetrated muscle tissue and a cut artery. He was hospitalised for two nights and needed “substantial medical intervention”, but not surgery.

He was twice hospitalised again due to considerable swelling. In his victim impact statement, the man said months after the attack he was still struggling with everyday activities such as putting socks on. He has since fully recovered.

The woman’s lawyer Zachary Meehan submitted there was a history of violence against the defendant by her brother. She had grabbed the knife because she was concerned about further violence, Meehan said.

A man spent two nights in hospital after suffering from a cut artery and penetrated muscle tissue when he was stabbed with a knife by his sister. Photo / Bevan Conley
A man spent two nights in hospital after suffering from a cut artery and penetrated muscle tissue when he was stabbed with a knife by his sister. Photo / Bevan Conley

He provided an affidavit from the siblings’ mother, who said both have had issues with substance abuse and share a “love-hate relationship”.

Dream role

But the woman’s mother said one good thing had come from the offending; her daughter underwent counselling and has learnt to walk away rather than argue. The woman dreams of one day becoming a counsellor.

For that reason, Meehan applied for a discharge without conviction for his client, saying a criminal record could ruin the woman’s chances of entering the profession. Police and the victim opposed the application.

“Proposed employment in the health sector generally requires a high degree of transparency relating to the character of potential counsellors,” Judge Arthur Tompkins said.

“I accept on the material put before the court there had been a poor and previously physically abusive relationship between the two siblings.”

He agreed with Meehan’s submission that the woman’s actions could be viewed as self-defence, albeit excessive.

“In the end, it is very finely balanced but falls just on the side of the discharge being granted.”

The woman was also granted permanent name suppression.

Ethan Griffiths covers crime and justice stories nationwide for Open Justice. He joined NZME in 2020, previously working as a regional reporter in Whanganui and South Taranaki.

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