DANIEL Petryk had only learned how to use the rifle that shot dead well-known Hunter identity Robert Parry minutes prior to the botched robbery, Newcastle Supreme Court, NSW heard on Friday.
The court also heard it is possible Petryk, who was found guilty of the 2015 murder in October last year, “had no understanding” the .22 shortened single-shot firearm was cocked, Public Defender Angus Webb said during sentencing submissions.
Mr Webb told the court the Windale, NSW man had phoned the gun’s owner “one to two minutes” prior to the shooting to ask how to use the firearm.
“It is quite possible that at the time the rifle discharged my client had no understanding it was cocked,” Mr Webb said, arguing that it did not “excuse” Petryk but it should serve as a “significant” factor in the sentence.
“Are you suggesting that the prospect of accidental discharge should not be excluded?” Justice Helen Wilson asked.
“Yes,” Mr Webb replied.
Crown prosecutor Lee Carr said based on the evidence it was “very difficult” to justify accidental discharge.
Earlier, Mr Carr had read out victim impact statements on behalf of Mr Parry’s family. Mr Parry’s sister, Susan, submitted that on March 7, 2015, the day of the murder, “our world came crashing down around us”.
“Our family will never, ever, be the same again,” the statement read.
“It never, never, never will be.”
Douglas Parry submitted to the court his “greatest regret” was that he didn’t visit his brother before March.
“I have a sense of loss and sorrow that I have not been able to shake off,” he said.
Petryk, who was dressed in a black suit, appeared emotionless as the victim impact statements were read out, glancing every so often at the public gallery.
The court had earlier heard the 25-year-old had limited intelligence and possibly suffered from anti-social disorder.
The matter was adjourned to February 16 for sentencing.
Petryk’s co-accused, Jesse Nikolovski, will appear at the same time for sentencing submissions after a delay receiving a psychiatric report.
The Newcastle Herald