Man on 'spiritual journey' jailed for stabbing neighbour

A MAN who regularly used psychedelic drugs to enhance his 'spiritual journey' has been sentenced in Grafton after stabbing his neighbour in the neck.

Mullumbimby man Aaron Hoghton, 29, appeared in Grafton Local Court on Monday in an attempt to have the reckless wounding charge, over the attack on the night of July 24, dismissed for mental health reasons.

According to police facts, Hoghton called out to see if the victim was home about 11.10pm that night.

When the door opened, Houghton thrust a knife at the victim continuously while he tried to block the attack with the front door. During the attack Houghton allegedly said, "I know what you're doing to me."

The victim succeeded in preventing the accused from entering the house, but suffered a small laceration to his chest and a wound to the back of his neck, which required five stitches.

On August 2, Hoghton was arrested at Kingscliff and admitted the incident, saying he lost control and attacked Mr McMillan with a knife.

There was no explanation for the attack other than an indication Houghton had a "dark feeling about the victim."

In court, the defence solicitor said his client may have been in a state of psychosis during the attack, and had very little recollection of the event itself.

It was heard that Hoghton had spent the past three to four years using a combination of psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs, meditation and intermittent fasting to enhance his spiritual journey and astral projection.

The defence also said he had distanced himself from friends in the past year as he delved deeper into his spiritual studies.

On the stand, Hoghton added that if he saw the victim again he would offer his sincere apologies for his actions and try and make him feel comfortable, "and hope this doesn't affect his life".

"I was not expecting where it went at all," he said.

The police prosecutor, however, said the unprovoked attack and Hoghton's background of drug use meant it was too serious to be dismissed. Magistrate Robyn Denes agreed.

"Stabbing someone in their home, unprovoked, needs a custodial sentence," she said.

Magistrate Denes sentenced Hoghton to 15 months jail, with a non-parole period of three months dating back to the offence.

He will be eligible for release today.



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