A recreational fisherman has been found not guilty of murdering an Irish father-of-two by stabbing him in the head with a screwdriver during a fight next to Perth’s Swan River.
Andrew Doan, 35, stood trial in the Supreme Court of WA over the death of Charles John McCarthy, 32, in the early hours of December 23, 2017.
There were gasps and tears when the verdict was handed down.
The father-of-one has already spent more than one year behind bars.
He and Tien Vu Huynh had been fishing without much luck for about two hours when Mr McCarthy walked by with his wife Nicole and friend Jason Mikel Curran, who made a remark about the Asian men getting into trouble with Fisheries for their catch.
While prosecutor James Mactaggart told the jury it was a “smart-arse, throwaway” comment, Mr Doan said the remark was racist because there was a stereotype “that all Asians catch undersize fish”.
The trio, who had been drinking at a Christmas function, began walking away but a sober Mr Doan followed them and they argued.
Mr Doan then realised he was outnumbered when Mr McCarthy began “puffing up” and walked back towards him, “really staunch” with his fists clenched.
“It looked like he was coming into a demonic rage,” Mr Doan testified.
He told the jury he panicked, pulled out a screwdriver and held it above his head, saying: “Get back or I’ll stab you.”
As Mr Doan retreated to his car, Mr McCarthy charged and moved to punch him, but impaled himself on the screwdriver.
Mr Doan said he had closed his eyes, threw his arms up to protect his face and forgot he was holding the tool.
He remained at the scene, telling police “it was me” and claimed self-defence.