The Courier-Mail

Charges reduced for death

- GRACE MASON

THE murder charge against an Innisfail man accused of fatally stabbing a father-of-three at a party in an Innisfail unit has been downgraded to manslaught­er.

Clay Stone (pictured), 31, was charged after he and Raymond Smerdelj, 32, allegedly got into a fight at an Edith St unit in October 2019.

During the argument Smerdelj allegedly suffered a stab wound to the chest and w was pronounced dead at the scene.

Several people had been at the unit socialisin­g before the fight.

Stone was committed to stand trial for murder in the Cairns Supreme Court last year. But Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane presented a new indictment when the case returned to court on Thursday, charging Stone with manslaught­er instead.

That charge still carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonme­nt.

Stone was granted bail several weeks after his arrest with his barrister arguing at the time it would be alleged he had been acting in self defence and Smerdelj had been the aggressor.

Justice James Henry adjourned the case until March 25. Stone is yet to enter a plea.

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