Slay-case trial told defendant had no choice but to stab girlfriend’s father in Christmas dinner fracas

Photo: AAP

Even after being stabbed, Warren Toby kept coming for his daughter’s partner at a family Christmas party, a court has heard.

Moments later Garth Michael Reid acted instinctively to defend himself and stabbed Mr Toby two more times, a Brisbane Supreme Court jury was told.

Mr Toby, 55, died in the front yard of the festive family gathering in the early hours of Boxing Day 2020.

The Christmas party had been going well at the North Ipswich family home west of Brisbane until Mr Toby told a joke that upset his daughter Kieran, Reid’s partner.

She planned to leave with Reid but witnesses said Mr Toby and his son, Ethan, went outside to stop them from drink driving with “tensions rising”.

“Ethan said something like ‘if you are leaving, you are going to go through me’,” defence barrister Jessica Horne said on Friday.

At one stage Mr Toby jumped into the tray of Reid’s ute before “things calmed down” after about five minutes.

“It’s understandable that Garth interprets that as Ethan making it clear in no uncertain terms that he is prepared to resort to violence if Garth tried to leave,” Ms Horne said.

‘Understandable that Garth got scared’

“It’s understandable that Garth got scared, he took it as a threat and was a bit shaken by it.”

Reid attempted to leave soon after but his partner stood in front of the ute door and they exchanged pushes. Reid then struck his partner in the head.

“It was that punch that changed things irrevocably because Warren saw that happen,” Ms Horne said.

Reid turned and saw Mr Toby “coming straight at him with his hands up ready to fight”.

“Garth did not know that Warren was there and he was ill prepared and surprised by Warren advancing,” Ms Horne said.

They exchanged punches and Reid tried to get away, she said.

But Mr Toby allegedly threw him against the ute and held Reid, trying to strike him.

“Unable to retreat and under attack, Garth stabbed Warren,” Ms Horne said.

Yet Mr Toby kept coming for Reid, the court heard.

“Even after being wounded Warren was determined and persistent – he didn’t desist and he didn’t flee,” Ms Horne said.

Reid became scared as Mr Toby pushed him against the ute, grabbed at his neck and tried to punch him, fearing that son Ethan may join in at any minute, the court heard.

“You heard from Ethan himself that he could ‘dust Garth up any day of the week’,” Ms Horne told the jury.

Reid stabbed his partner’s father two more times, stopping when Mr Toby’s attempts to punch him ceased, the court heard.

“What Garth did was what he believed he had to do, it was all he could do to prevent serious harm to himself,” Ms Horne said.

“The defence case in simple terms is this: when Garth killed Warren he did so lawfully.”

Reid, 35, has pleaded not guilty to murder at the trial before Justice Peter Callaghan.


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