Accused placed knife nearby 'just in case'

·2-min read

Placing a knife nearby "just in case" a confrontation with a larger, angrier man goes wrong is still self-defence, a Sydney murder trial has been told.

Peni "Ben" Apikotoa, 34, bled to death on the doorstep of a St Clair home in August 2018 after Nathan Chatimba plunged a knife seven centimetres into his shoulder and severed a major artery.

But a Supreme Court jury has been told it was Mr Apikotoa who'd instigated the incident, by refusing requests to stay away from the home of Chatimba's ex-partner Cassie Sanders and then punching the scaffolder in the face on arrival.

"(Mr Apikotoa) is a big, solid, strong man - he's said he is coming down there," barrister Tony Evers said in his closing address on Thursday.

"If he (Chatimba) put a knife outside just in case things went wrong, that's still self-defence."

Mr Evers asked if Chatimba putting the knife outside was consistent with him being scared, noting his client says he didn't approach the "drunk and angry" Mr Apikotoa with the knife in his hand.

Chatimba was moving a car seat into his car and trying to leave when confronted, the barrister said.

"He didn't get out of there in time," he said.

"He picks up this knife and he holds it out to ward Mr Apikotoa off."

The jury has heard expert evidence that the six stab wounds the 112-kilogram man suffered were "consistent with jabs".

"It's consistent with someone just trying to keep an angry person, a much larger person at bay," Mr Evers said.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Christofi said Chatimba's version of events sounded "like a tall story".

"There just happened to be a knife right there ... how fortunate, how convenient," he said in his closing address on Wednesday.

Mr Apikotoa would have to be blind to have missed the knife, and a "zombie" without regard for self-preservation or pain to not let the initial stabs stop him.

"It is almost cartoonish," Mr Christofi said.

While the Crown says the accused is lying, Mr Evers called on the jury to dismiss the apparently changeable evidence of Ms Sanders, who witnessed the confrontation and its lead-up.

"She's not telling the truth. And yet the Crown requires her evidence in order to show that the accused didn't act in self-defence," he said.

Chatimba, now 33, has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder.

The jury set to determine his fate is expected to begin its deliberations on Monday.