Australia

Victorian teen guilty of murdering Laa Chol

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A 17-year-old boy has been found guilty of murdering Laa Chol, who was stabbed when a party she was attending was gatecrashed in central Melbourne in July 2018.

A jury has found a 17-year-old boy guilty of murdering Melbourne teenager Laa Chol by knifing her at a party.

Although he confessed to stabbing the 19-year-old in July last year during a violent scuffle in a Melbourne apartment tower, the boy said he didn't intend to kill or seriously injure the university student.

But the jury rejected the boy's plea of manslaughter, returning a unanimous verdict in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict on Friday.
The jury returned a unanimous verdict on Friday.
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The jury returned a verdict after more than two days of deliberation.

The boy's solicitor had argued the circumstances of the stabbing did not constitute the crime of murder.

"It is tragic, unquestionably, but it is not a murder. It is a manslaughter," lawyer Sam Norton said in his closing submissions earlier in the week.

Laa Chol was killed after a clash between two groups of people at a short-stay CBD apartment.
Laa Chol was killed after a clash between two groups of people at a short-stay CBD apartment.
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But the jury instead agreed with prosecutor Kristie Churchill, who said the boy didn't need to have premeditated the attack or have a specific motive to still be guilty of murder.

She noted he didn't strike Ms Chol in the leg or arm but stabbed with "at least moderate" force, penetrating her chest cavity and into her heart.

Ms Chol and her friends had rented an Airbnb apartment in a city tower block for a night of fun and partying.

A group of boys, including the killer - then aged 17 - showed up uninvited and Ms Chol argued with them after alleging they took her mobile phone.

She was stabbed during the scuffle and died surrounded by her friends.

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