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Convicted Killer To Leave Prison, Serve Rest Of Sentence At Home

Brodie Graham Champion during sentencing in 2023. Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

A man who fatally stabbed a Dunedin father will leave prison on Friday after five months behind bars to serve the rest of his sentence at home.

Brodie Graham Champion was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for the manslaughter of his neighbour, 52-year-old Grant Jopson, after a confrontation stemming from mistaken identity in 2022.

A Court of Appeal decision quashed the sentence, instead giving him seven months' home detention.



''We acknowledge that this was a difficult and complex case. We accept that significant weight had to be given to the harm caused by the offending and the need to denounce and deter others from committing such offending,'' the decision said.

''But we are unable to agree that the purposes and principles of sentencing are best served by a sentence of imprisonment in this case.''

The decision said a prison sentence could prove extremely difficult for someone as vulnerable as Champion.

It found that prison was excessive given the very clear link between his youth, mental health and the offending as well as his low risk of reoffending and his potential to be rehabilitated.

It all started with mistaken identity, but ended in tragedy.

''The victim, Mr Jopson, was a loving and protective father. His death has had a devastating effect on his family,'' the decision said.

Champion - who was 20 at the time - was involved in a road rage incident near Mosgiel in the month leading up to the fatal stabbing and mistakenly believed Jopson's son was in the other vehicle.

He confronted the victim's partner while she was walking their son's dog in Momona, telling her to pass on a threatening message about what would happen if a similar incident occurred again.

When Jopson found out what happened, he walked with his son to Champion's house in Momona near Dunedin Airport to confront him.

Champion was cutting his hedge and ran indoors to grab a 20 centimetre-long kitchen knife when he saw the two approaching.

They became involved in a heated argument with Jopson's brother and another person arriving at Champion's property.

The Court of Appeal decision noted that by grabbing the knife, Champion escalated matters from the start.

He backed away towards a corner of the house and was followed by Jopson and his son, with Jopson picking up an aluminium broom and hitting him with it.

Champion swiped and stabbed at Jopson with the knife while Jopson's son threw a terracotta pot at Champion, which hit Champion and broke.

He backed up further and ended up in a corner of the property with a now-unarmed Jopson and his son walking towards him, yelling at Champion.

Champion started wildly swinging the knife, lunging forward multiple times with one of them hitting Jopson in the stomach.

Jopson walked a short distance away before collapsing on the grass, saying he could not breathe and it hurt.

Champion and others called 111 to request an ambulance, but Jopson died from the stab wound.

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