Man jailed for stabbing drunk visitor in the head after being assaulted with a fork

Man imprisoned for stabbing man in the head during an argument, but receives reduced punishment because the victim had struck him with a fork first

File photo
File photo

A man from Indonesia has been jailed for stabbing a fellow countryman in the head during an argument, receiving a reduced punishment because the victim had struck him with a fork first.

Muhamad Topik Hidayat, a 32-year-old Indonesian national, was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to the victim during a violent altercation at his apartment. The incident occurred on November 28, 2021, and left the victim with serious head injuries.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello, presiding over the case, heard several witnesses testify to the events that led to the injuries.

One of the flatmates, who had been playing a video game with headphones on at the time of the incident, recounted that Hidayat had struck the victim with a knife twice on the side of his head.

In an attempt to stop the fight, the witness tried to calm the defendant down, while the victim went to the toilet to clean the blood with a blanket, as both upstairs and downstairs in the apartment were covered in blood.

The court was presented with compelling evidence that established the use of a knife during the altercation. Multiple eyewitnesses positively identified the knife, found with a blood-stained blade, as the same one used by Hidayat during the struggle. 

Moreover, Hidayat admitted to grabbing a knife from the kitchen sink and striking the victim at least once on the head. The knife was concealed near the apartment's door, wrapped in a blanket, by one of the other flatmates.

The defendant had claimed that the victim had attacked him with a fork during the altercation, the court noting that he had remained “unwavering and consistent” in this claim, despite it not being directly mentioned by the other witnesses. 

Noting that none of the witnesses had seen the fight from the beginning, the defendant had a scratch on his arm and that one of the witnesses stated that “no one had a fork at this moment,” the court ruled that this claim could not be excluded and that any doubt must run in favour of the accused.

The court also took into consideration the state of intoxication of the victim during the altercation, as he had admitted to being “drunk and emotional.”

Witnesses testified that Hidayat was significantly larger and more powerful than the victim, and had to be restrained by several men during the incident. Nevertheless, the court concluded that Hidayat's reaction, using a large sharp knife to strike the victim 's head, was disproportionate and had not been the only means available to defend himself against potential aggression.

While Hidayat's injuries sustained during the altercation were not severe, the court observed that the crime of causing slight bodily harm is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of two years, which meant that it qualified as an extenuating factor in terms of punishment - rendering the bodily harm excusable at law and subject to a possible maximum sentence of six months in prison.

Finding Muhamad Topik Hidayat guilty of excusable grievous bodily harm, the court sentenced him to five months in prison, also issuing a restraining order in favour of the victim, which will remain in force for three years. Hidayat was also ordered to pay €405 in court costs and €500 as compensation to the victim for the permanent injury caused.