Brother kills brother, but he walks free
By our Court Reporter
A BALLINA man who killed his brother with a king hit walked out of Lismore District Court yesterday a free man.
Michael Jeffrey Kevill, 29, was given a 12-month suspended sentence for the drunken fight which led to the death of his brother, John Kevill, almost two years ago.
The accused appeared unmoved by the decision handed down in court yesterday.
However, his younger brother, Ronald Kevill, said he was relieved.
"He's a bit emotional at the moment and I think he's just glad it's finally over and we can move on," he said.
"We should be all right. He'll stay out of trouble because he understands the seriousness of this."
John Kevill died in hospital two weeks after being 'king hit' by his brother, Michael, during an argument in July 2003.
Michael Kevill pleaded guilty to maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm and was released on strict conditions of good behaviour.
District Court Criminal Judge JW Black described the situation as tragic and said Kevill had shown considerable remorse.
Kevill agreed to seek help regarding his alcohol problem, and said he was prepared to look into anger management.
"I have not had a drink for the past two or three weeks. I don't know why I stopped, I just did," Kevill told the court.
Police facts said Kevill and his brother, John, began arguing at 4pm on July 31, 2003, after consuming red wine from a cask.
Police said the brothers began drinking in the morning and were at a high level of intoxication by mid-afternoon.
Then, in the heat of the argument, John walked out the front to roll a cigarette.
Kevill followed and hit his brother with a fist on the left side of his head, causing him to stumble and fall backwards to the ground.
He then became unconscious when he hit his head on the concrete driveway.
John Kevill was rushed to Ballina Hospital and then later airlifted by helicopter to the Princess Alexandria Hospital in Brisbane.
A CT scan revealed he had extensive subarachnoid haemorrhaging.
Police said John Kevill's condition stabilised, however after two weeks he deteriorated and died on August 28, 2003.
Kevill's public defender, Chris Bruce, argued that his client had the verbal skills of a 13-year-old and non-verbal skills of a seven-year-old.
He said Kevill would have acted in the moment and would not have foreseen the consequences of his actions.