AN Afghan national who allegedly stabbed his wife in the neck during a "scuffle" at a unit in Jesmond last year has been granted conditional bail, with a judge questioning the strength of the case against the 39-year-old tax driver.
Aimal Ghouse - who worked as a translator for the Australian Army in Afghanistan and was subsequently offered protection and assistance to immigrate to Australia - is accused of stabbing his wife in front of the couple's children at the family home in William Street on April 9 last year.
But Judge Peter Berman said on Monday that it was "remarkable" that Mr Ghouse's wife, Zardana Ghouse, claimed to have "no memory" of how she was stabbed and that the children disagree about how their mother came to be in a critical condition with a wound to her neck.
Mrs Ghouse underwent emergency surgery and has since recovered.
She has repeatedly attended court in support of Mr Ghouse and is not in support of the prosecution of her husband, the court heard.
Mr Ghouse has pleaded not guilty to wounding with intent to murder and the alternative charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm over the alleged stabbing. But due to the unavailability of Mr Ghouse's lawyers he could not get a trial date until July 31, 2023.
He appeared in Newcastle District Court on Monday via audio visual link from Clarence Correctional Centre to apply for bail, with barrister Philip Massey telling Judge Peter Berman there were 11 conditions, including that Mr Ghouse not travel north of the Hawkesbury River, that meant he could be released on bail.
Mr Massey questioned the strength of the prosecution case in relation to Mr Ghouse having an intention to murder or cause grievous bodily harm to his wife and said if refused bail he would spend more than two years behind bars before facing trial.
Judge Berman said the prosecution alleged the stabbing occurred in the context of a "scuffle" between the pair but said it was "noteworthy" the eyewitnesses - the couple's children - and the alleged victim had provided different versions about what happened.
"I am satisfied that Mr Ghouse has shown cause [why his detention is not justified]," Judge Berman said. "Not only because of the difficulties the prosecution will have in proving intention but also because of the lengthy period that Mr Ghouse will spend in custody where he not granted bail. "In circumstances where it is always possible that he will be acquitted."
He said Mr Ghouse had no criminal convictions and there was a low risk of him failing to appear in court or attempting to return to Afghanistan.
Mr Ghouse was granted bail to live at an address in Western Sydney.