A HOMELESS man, sleeping rough under the awning of the derelict Newcastle post office, responded to being called a homophobic slur by twice stabbing another vagrant, leaving him in a critical condition in intensive care.
Joel Viviensby, 47, was represented by solicitor Chris O’Brien when he appeared in Newcastle Local Court via audio visual link from Parklea Correctional Centre on Wednesday.
Viviensby, who the court had previously heard suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and who said on Wednesday that he was deaf in one ear, pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless wounding after the DPP withdrew the more serious offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Viviensby will appear in Newcastle District Court later this month to get a sentence date in the new year.
Viviensby and the victim, a 33-year-old man, knew each other well and were both members of a homeless community who would congregate around the outside of the run-down Newcastle post office.
It was about 9pm on October 19 last year when the victim walked up the steps of the post office and onto the western verandah to speak to a few people.
He approached one man, who was sitting on some bedding, said hello and gently kicked him.
A moment later, the victim spotted Viviensby also sitting on the verandah and yelled at him: “You dirty faggot”, according to a statement of agreed facts handed up after Viviensby’s guilty plea.
Viviensby then stood up and used a gold-coloured folding knife with a nine centimetre blade to stab the victim once in the abdomen and once in the thigh.
The victim stumbled down the stairs and, clutching the lower left side of his stomach, began repeating “I’ve been stabbed. I’ve been stabbed” while he and his girlfriend walked down Hunter Street.
Three women, including a registered nurse, happened to be driving along Hunter Street at the time and saw the victim struggling before he fell to the ground.
The women called police and an ambulance and told the victim’s girlfriend to apply pressure to the wound.
While they were looking after him, the victim continued to repeat “I was stabbed”. When asked if he knew who stabbed him, the victim replied: “Yes. It was Joel.”
As the victim was being taken to John Hunter Hospital, the police were searching for Viviensby.
About 90 minutes after they arrived, police officers were taking down the police tape that had surrounded the post office when Viviensby returned, strolling up the steps to the verandah where he had stabbed the victim.
He was arrested and police found the knife in his bag.