Stabbing Victim had History of Alcohol-Fuelled Rages
A JURY which convicted a Gold Coast tiler of murdering his defacto wife in a violent domestic confrontation should have been told the victim allegedly had a history of alcohol fuelled rages, a court heard today.
Richard John Vollmer, 38, has always maintained he was acting in self defence when he repeatedly stabbed Alissa De-Monie, including 10 times in the back, at their Burleigh Heads, home two years ago.
At his Supreme Court trial earlier this year, there was no dispute hairdressing teacher Alissa De-Monie died after being stabbed by her defacto partner, Vollmer, on October 18, 2009.
However, the jury was told it would have to decide whether Vollmer had a defence to murder of self-defence or provocation, and whether he had the intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm.
The prosecution told the jury the number of stab wounds, their position and the nature of them, would satisfy them that Vollmer had murdered Ms De-Monie.
Vollmer’s lawyers argued Ms De-Monie had attacked Vollmer with the knife and he had fought back but could not remember the rest of the incident.
The jury returned a guilty verdict to murder after two hours and Vollmer was jailed for life.
Vollmer appealed on the grounds his legal team at trial should have called evidence to show Ms De-Monie had a history of alcohol-fuelled violence including attacking a former partner and her own family.
Michael Byrne, QC, for Vollmer, told the Court of Appeal today had the jury heard the evidence regarding De-Monie’s past behaviour under the influence of alcohol or amphetamines, it would have strengthened Vollmer’s claims of self defence.
He said the evidence was available for the trial but not called.
Mr Byrne said one of Ms De-Monie’s previous partners had claimed she would often fly into violent rages and had stabbed him with a fork, hit him on the head with a beer bottle, and done $17,500 damage to their then home.
“It was very relevant that she had a violent past and the jury should have known it,” he said.
Mr Byrne said if the evidence had been led it could have led to a different verdict.
However, prosecutor Michael Byrne, SC, said there had been a tactical decision not to lead the evidence including the fact the defence counsel would have given up the right of last address to the jury.
He said the defence case was always going to be difficult because Ms De-Monie had suffered 10 stab wounds to the back and one to the front as well as multiple abrasions and bruises.
Mr Byrne said that was against the background of Vollmer claiming Ms De-Monie came at him with a knife, he retaliated but could not remember what happened after that.
The Court of Appeal reserved its judgment.
Jury should have been told: Vollmer appeal
Luke Royes | 23 November, 2011 | Gold Coast Bulletin
A JURY should have heard evidence a woman killed by her partner in their Burleigh Heads home in 2009 had a history of violence, a court has been told.
In May, Richard John Vollmer was found guilty of the murder of 41-year-old Alissa De-Monie and sentenced to life imprisonment, a conviction he has appealed on the grounds it was a miscarriage of justice.
During the trial, the court was told Vollmer stabbed De-Monie with a knife during an argument after a dinner party.
Vollmer said he stabbed her in self-defence after she ran at him with the knife.
At a hearing in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane today, Michael Byrne, QC, for Vollmer, said his original legal team erred in not presenting affidavits from Ms De-Monie’s former partner alleging several incidents of violence.
He said the trial judge and prosecution misconstrued evidence that Ms De-Monies had a volatile temperment after she had been drinking.
“The jury should have been able to consider the directions with a better insight into the character of the deceased,” he said.
Michael Byrne, SC, acting for the Director of Public Prosecution, said the evidence was at least 12 years out-of-date and should not have been considered by the jury.
“Even if used it has not been a miscarriage of justice because the defence in the trial made the legitimate tactical decision to focus on events of the night,” he said.
The court reserved its decision to a date to be fixed.