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Shepparton jury hears Wycheproof manslaughter 'self-defence' claims

Dane McLennan, 26, is on trial for manslaughter in Shepparton due to COVID-19 Melbourne restrictions. He faces prison after celebrations at Wycheproof’s annual golf day went devastatingly wrong in August of 2019.

It is believed McLennan felt ‘embarrassed’ after he was winded in what is thought to have initially been an affable scuffle with the late John Durie after the pair had played pool together.

After coming off the worse of the two in an act of horseplay, McLennan fatally punched father of two Durie, who fell to the ground unconscious immediately after the altercation.

Tragically, Durie was declared dead later in the night, despite efforts to revive him.

McLennan has claimed he was acting in ‘self defence’ and is currently standing trial in the Supreme Court; though he is currently sitting with a jury in Shepparton as a result of restrictive measures in Victoria due to the pandemic.

According to Prosecutor Patrick Bourke QC, the victim was known to often engage in jovial behaviour such as ‘wrestling with mates’, often after consuming alcohol.

According to Victoria police, at some point in the evening, McLennan had been struck in his abdominal area and was instantly winded.

The prosecution asserts that due to feeling embarrassed that others may have seen the incident, McLennan’s chagrin quickly turned to anger as he lashed out at Durie, fatally killing him.

Bourke told the court gathered at Shepparton:

"McLennan tells police embarrassment turned to anger pretty quickly and he just lashed out"
"He didn't want to go down or get made a fool of, was how he described his feelings to police in the interview."

Moreover, barrister Geoffrey Steward, acting for the defendant McLennan, said it was arguable that his client had acted lawfully.

"Regardless of whether you're angry or embarrassed you're still allowed to defend yourself."

Steward also went on to say that there was a possibility the victim had died as a result of an aneurysm which was unrelated to the force of McLennan’s actions.

"It's not at all normal for a blow to the body to cause a hole in the internal carotid artery as is alleged here," he said, describing it as "exceedingly rare".

The trial is ongoing.


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