An Aboriginal woman who has admitted to the stabbing death of her niece in a drunken fight in a remote Goldfields community is eager to serve her prison time so she can be released to face traditional punishment, a Perth court was told today.
Rita Holland, 38, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to manslaughter over the death of her 22-year-old niece at the Wonganarra Aboriginal Community in January last year.
The court was told the victim initiated the physical, alcohol-fuelled fight and Holland stabbed her after her daughter brought her a knife.
She aimed for her niece's shoulder, but stabbed her in the neck, cutting her jugular vein, the court was told.
The victim died in hospital in Laverton.
State prosecutor Amanda Forrester said Holland was caught by police while she was being chased by an armed group of the victim's family and confessed to the crime.
She said the State accepted the use of the knife was opportunistic and there was no intent to kill or cause life-threatening injury.
Defence lawyer Dominic Brunello argued his client should receive a jail term at the bottom end for manslaughter cases.
He said Holland's decision to arm herself was made in a "dramatic, fast-flowing incident in which the deceased had already metered out a significant unlawful assault on her and was squaring up to fight her again."
Mr Brunello said Holland's actions were in the "heat of the moment" and she wanted to frighten and stop the victim. He said his client was truly remorseful.
Mr Brunello said Holland, who has been remanded in custody for a year, was upset that she had not yet faced traditional punishment for her crime.
He said her daughter had already faced it and Holland was "eager" to do the same to allow for reconciliation in the community.
Ms Forrester said Warburton police had told her that since the crime involved women the traditional punishment would involve sticks, rather than weapons such as spears.Justice Michael Corboy adjourned Holland's sentencing to February 12.
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