A Nepalese curry chef will spend at least 17 years in jail after he fatally stabbed a drunken customer up to 17 times at his Victorian restaurant after he asked for spicy food.
Hari Prasad Dhakal, 50, stabbed 38-year-old Pakistani-born IT worker Abdullah Siddiqi multiple times at the Ballarat Curry House on October 25, 2016.
Supreme Court judge Lex Lasry said on Friday the killing was “totally out of proportion” to the provocation from his customer – the only diner in the restaurant.
Mr Siddiqi – an infrequent drinker – arrived at the restaurant with a bottle of Jim Beam Black Label whiskey.
After finishing his meal, the intoxicated Mr Siddiqi approached the counter and asked for more food – something spicy – but Dhakal told him he’d had too much to drink.
The two men then pushed and shoved each other, with Mr Siddiqi slipping at one point.
Dhakal then took a knife and stabbed Mr Siddiqi multiple times, with 17 sharp force injuries to his head, neck and arms, which damaged his arteries, veins, voicebox, cervical spine and skull.
“It’s common ground the deceased lost his temper and became quite abusive towards you,” Justice Lasry said.
Justice Lasry said Mr Siddiqi had called Dhakal a “motherf***er” and “sisterf***er” in Hindi.
“I accept the deceased was aggressive and you responded spontaneously,” he said.
“(But) the threat from him was totally out of proportion to the action you took with the knife in your restaurant.
“You were entitled to be offended by what he said and you were entitled to resist his somewhat clumsy pushing.
“However, your actions in stabbing him to death went far beyond anything that had been done to you.”
Justice Lasry accepted Dhakal’s remorse and that he suffered anxiety because, being Brahmin (the highest Hindu caste), his actions would not be condoned.
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“This is one of those rare cases where despite your plea of not guilty … I accept you are remorseful,” he said.
“It occurred spontaneously and in response to significant provocation from the deceased.”
Dhakal turned up to a police station producing the knife, which he’d wrapped in cloth and placed in a plastic bag, saying: “I’ve killed someone”.
He claimed during his trial he acted in self-defence, lost control and had little memory of his actions and feared Mr Siddiqi might attack him with a knife, but the jury rejected his claims.
Dhakal was living in Australia illegally without a visa for several years after his 2000 arrival and will almost certainly be deported post-sentence.
He was jailed for 23 years with a minimum of 17 years.