A Tuggeranong man has been acquitted of attempted murder over an incident in which he stabbed a dinner guest within hours of being discharged from a mental health unit.
Justice David Mossop reached the verdict in a judge-alone trial on Thursday afternoon, having not been satisfied that Russell Te-Rangi Walker had intended to kill the victim.
The ACT Supreme Court judge also found Walker not guilty, this time by reason of mental impairment, on an alternative charge of intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Justice Mossop must now indicate the sentence he would have imposed on that charge if not for Walker's mental impairment, dictating the maximum period that Walker can be detained for treatment under the territory's mental health legislation.
In a statement read to the court on Thursday, the stabbing victim described feeling "huge terror and helplessness as [Walker] raged".
The man and Walker had been among people present at a Bonython home during a dinner gathering on the evening when the incident occurred in June 2019.
It is not entirely clear why Walker launched the attack, but agreed facts tendered to the court show he made a comment along the lines of believing that the victim was "trying to take away his family".
The victim said he still had "very frightening" flashbacks to the moment Walker plunged a knife into his chest, missing his heart by just 1.5 centimetres.
He said he spent several days in intensive care fearing he would die, and that he was now withdrawn and not the same outgoing person he once was.
"What Russell did to me has changed my life forever," the man wrote.
"I don't think I will ever fully recover from this."
Crown prosecutor Rebecca Christensen, who read the victim impact statement aloud, urged Justice Mossop to consider the protection of the community when deciding on an indicative sentence for Walker.
The victim wrote that he was "very worried" about Walker returning to the community, and Ms Christensen said the stabbing and Walker's "repeated violent offending" showed he posed "a significant risk".
"It really is only a matter of fortune that the victim survived," she said.
Ms Christensen also highlighted a few previous incidents on Walker's criminal record, including one in which he had slashed someone's neck with a knife.
The court has previously heard Walker has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and Ms Christensen said a psychiatrist had expressed an opinion that he was "clearly a dangerous individual".
She told the court Walker did not always comply with his medication regime, and that he had been known to use illicit drugs that "exacerbated" his mental health conditions.
But defence barrister Jon White SC said Walker had been "completely compliant" with his mental health treatment regime during the nearly two years he had spent in custody on remand.
Mr White argued Walker had demonstrated insight into his mental health issues and a willingness to address them during that period.
Justice Mossop said he would give his decision on the indicative sentence on Friday morning.
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