Stabber Damien Wallis leaving Gympie District Court yesterday.
Stabber Damien Wallis leaving Gympie District Court yesterday. Troy Jegers

Gympie man who stabbed his best mate walks free

THE Gympie man who stabbed his best mate and left him lying in a pool of blood after a drunken stoush which first saw him taken to hospital has walked free from court.

Damien Wallis, 36, took deep breaths and appeared emotional as his tearful family members celebrated Judge Suzanne Sheridan's decision to release him from custody yesterday after the incident at an Elizabeth St house on September 6 last year.

READ MORE: Police to doorknock Gympie streets in stabbing investigation

The Gympie District Court heard Wallis had invited the victim, his friend "since primary school", over to his parents' place for a drinking session which lasted most of the day before an argument broke out in the evening.

Wallis, who the court heard was "drunker" than the victim, began "having a go" at him about one of his other mates and started pushing him. The victim warned Wallis to stop, but the confrontation reached boiling point and the victim hit Wallis in the ear with a beer bottle he was holding.

The two then started wrestling, but the victim called a stop to it and apologised to Wallis when he noticed blood streaming down his face.

Wallis, his girlfriend and the victim then went to Gympie Hospital, where Wallis was treated for lacerations to the side of his head, but appeared aggressive and was observed to say "I'm going to get that b------" as he left.

The victim had left earlier but decided to return to the house to collect his things and clean up the blood and broken bottle he noticed in the hallway, setting up the perfect storm which followed.

Wallis arrived at the house, ran over to the victim and punched him in the ribs, before stabbing him three times and causing him to fall down.

The court heard the victim knew he had been stabbed but had not seen the weapon, a fishing knife Wallis had taken from the car. He called out "Damo, I can't breathe properly, don't leave me", and "felt like he was dying", but Wallis ignored him.

A neighbour who heard the altercation and saw Wallis leaving the scene, then helped Wallis' girlfriend call an ambulance. Paramedics soon arrived and saw the victim lying in the grass in a "large pool of blood".

The victim was eventually airlifted to Princess Alexandra Hospital, with medical assessment confirming he would have died if the worst of his three wounds had been left untreated.

He suffered complications from his injuries, and later returned to hospital for two weeks.

Wallis went to his uncle's house after the incident and immediately confessed he'd stabbed his best mate, after which his uncle called police. Wallis was taken into custody, where he remained until yesterday's sentence.

Wallis pleaded guilty to one count of grievous bodily harm, and Judge Sheridan sentenced him to three years' jail suspended immediately for the next five years.

Judge Sheridan said she did not accept the crown prosecutor's submission that Wallis' attack had been premeditated, but rather the actions of an "angry, intoxicated person".

The judge called Wallis' behaviour "appalling" but said it was "unfortunate to say the least" that the two men had ended up back at the house after their initial fight, and that Wallis had the fishing knife in the car.

She noted Wallis had served 315 days in pre-sentence custody.

Gympie Times

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