16 June, 2010

She stabbed herself... over and over again?

Mansour Aala was charged with wounding his wife, Mary Razi, with intent to murder her, or at the very least, cause her grievous bodily harm. He went to trial, but the jury only convicted him or malicious wounding. He was sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of one year and nine months. Despite this favourable result, Mr Aala appealed against his conviction, without legal representation. The Crown also appealed, stating that Mr Aala’s sentence was too lenient, in light of the severity of the offence.

Ms Razi’s account of events was basically that her husband attacked her, beginning with punches to the face and head, after which he took to her with a knife. She was found with multiple stab wounds to the head, chest, abdomen, and both arms and legs. One chest wound penetrated the lung, and the abdomen wound penetrated the liver. Surgery was required to treat the wounds, and in the course of the operation it was discovered that her diaphragm had also been perforated. In total there were five or six stab wounds to the left chest, five or six stab wounds to the upper abdomen, two or three stab wounds on each arm, more stab wounds on her right leg, and a wound to the ear, over the angle of the jaw. Ms Razi was hospitalised for ten to 15 days, and her scars were still visible some four months later.

Mr Aala, in his defence, stated that Ms Razi had in fact inflicted these wounds upon herself, or at least partly, and that she also stabbed herself by accident when she fell down.

The jury, by its verdict, found that the wounds were all deliberately inflicted by Mr Aala, but they were not satisfied that he intended to kill her, or cause her grievous bodily harm.

Mr Aala set out his appeal in a letter to the Principal Registrar of the Appeal Court, which did not contain any real legal principle, and instead amounted to a repetition of his case at trial, namely that Ms Razi’s wounds were all self-inflicted, and that she had lied about what had occurred.

In particular, he asserted that his wife had attacked him on many occasions in the past, and that she had a financial motive to lie about this incident, because she had demanded $300,000 from him that he had not paid.

These reasons were rejected by the Appeal Court. Putting aside any alleged prior attacks, or extortion attempts, the Court found that it was extremely unlikely that such extensive and serious wounds were caused accidentally, or even deliberately, by Ms Razi’s own hand.

Mr Aala’s appeal was dismissed.

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