Killer’s double dose of justice

Rodney Pickering has been found guilty of manslaughter for killing his best mate. Picture: Stewart McLean
Rodney Pickering has been found guilty of manslaughter for killing his best mate. Picture: Stewart McLean

FOR the second time Rodney Pickering has watched as a Cairns Supreme Court jury found him guilty of the manslaughter of his best mate.

Justice James Henry said it was not an unexpected result.

"It was as strong a case of manslaughter as you could ever hope to imagine," Justice Henry said.

After arguing with Ivan Owens on December 18, 2012, at Croydon, Pickering left, armed himself with a knife and then went looking for Mr Owens. The pair had a drunken argument that ended when Pickering stabbing Mr Owens in the chest. He died just after midnight on December 19.

CCTV footage showed Pickering with that knife.

"From the moment one saw the knife in the back of his pocket, that he fetched from his home and walked back into town, it was always difficult to imagine that a jury would acquit him outright," Justice Henry said.

In 2015 Pickering was found guilty of manslaughter over Mr Owens' death, having been acquitted of murder. But his conviction was overturned in the High Court and a retrial was ordered.

Justice Henry said on the last occasion he had taken a "generous view" of Pickering's remorse and sentenced him to 7½ years jail.

"The facts are different this time because he changed the facts," Justice Henry said.

During the second trial, which lasted nine days, Pickering told the court that at the time of the fatal blow, Mr Owens had struck him.

It was the first time he'd revealed this version of events.

"You were trying to get off the charge by doing that," Justice Henry said.

"The jury saw through it."

Mr Owens' brother Gary Owens, who read a victim impact statement for the family, said: "Words cannot describe the impact of receiving the shattering news that our little brother, uncle, father, grandfather, cousin and very dear friend was tragically taken away from us."

Justice Henry jailed Pickering for 7½ years with no parole eligibility date.

Topics:  guilty manslaughter

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