DANIEL "Hawko" Hawkins, accused of murdering Kenneth John Denniss during a dispute over a stolen motorbike at Maryland in 2018, claims he was acting in self-defence after the 38-year-old threatened him and twice swung at him with a knife, stabbing him in the arm.
But Crown prosecutor Georgia Turner said Mr Hawkins, now 31, of Wallsend, was motivated by anger and a desire for "retaliation and retribution" over the stabbing and Mr Denniss's refusal to hand over the motorbike when he returned to the house about half an hour later and shot Mr Denniss with a sawn-off rifle.
"Hey Ken, come here for a minute," Mr Hawkins allegedly called out to Mr Denniss about 4pm on December 8, 2018. And when Mr Denniss emerged from the garage, his partner by his side, Mr Hawkins pulled a sawn-off rifle out from behind his back, steadied it atop the fence and fired a single shot, striking Mr Dennis in the chest and knocking him to the ground.
Mr Hawkins was arraigned before a jury in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney on Monday and pleaded not guilty to murder.
During his opening address on Tuesday, Public Defender Nathan Steel, told the jury Mr Hawkins did not deny shooting Mr Denniss but maintains he was acting in self-defence and "genuinely believed at the time he discharged this firearm that he needed to do that to defend himself."
Mr Steel said it was not disputed Mr Hawkins was armed with a rifle when he returned to Mr Denniss's home in Beauford Avenue after the initial confrontation and stabbing.
"He wasn't intending to kill or even discharge the firearm," Mr Steel said. "He intended to scare him or warn him away so that he wouldn't carry out any threats against him."
But when Mr Hawkins called out to Mr Denniss, he claims Mr Dennis "flung open" the garage door and emerged with "something in his hands".
Mr Hawkins thought it was a firearm, he claims, and "fearing for his safety reacted and discharged the firearm", Mr Steel said.
Police searched Mr Denniss's property and found a homemade mace, adorned with nails and syringes, but did not recover any firearms.
Mr Steel said the jury would also need to consider how Mr Hawkins prior diagnosis of PTSD could have impacted on his decision making on the day.
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