A TAMWORTH man who brandished a screwdriver and stabbed an innocent bystander in an argument has been jailed.
Peter Thomas Jones was accompanied by a woman when he went to visit a man at a Robert St unit complex in Tamworth on December 18.
When the argument spiralled out of control, a 21-year-old neighbour intervened and asked the pair to leave.
A scuffle ensued, at which point Jones brandished a screwdriver and stabbed the man once in the chest before fleeing the scene.
When police arrived, they found the injured man lying on the footpath.
He was rushed by ambulance paramedics to Tamworth hospital in a serious condition before he was airlifted for specialist treatment to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.
A number of witnesses saw the altercation, which broke out about 8.30am.
Detectives traced Jones to a Tingira St home that afternoon.
He was captured there and later charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Detectives also raided a home as part of the investigation and seized a number of items of interest, which formed part of the forensic evidence tendered in a brief for the case.
Jones was refused bail but took his bid for release to the Supreme Court, where it was granted in February.
A solicitor for Jones had previously told a Tamworth court there were issues over intent, and the matter needed to be committed for trial after negotiations with the Crown broke down.
But on arraignment in the District Court in Sydney last month, Jones reversed his plea to guilty.
In a sentencing hearing late last week, Chief District Judge Reg Blanch rejected any claims of self-defence, instead telling the Downing Centre District Court jail was the only penalty available.
He ordered Jones to spend three years behind bars with a minimum non-parole period of 12 months.
After time already served, Jones could be eligible for release in May next year.