A 19-year-old teenager has been sentenced to seven years in detention for the killing of 16-year-old Balin Stewart. The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of manslaughter by a Supreme Court jury in Brisbane. Balin’s father, Michael Stewart, expressed his heartbreak and stated that he will never forgive the teenager for taking his son’s life.
The incident occurred during a brawl outside the Stewart family’s home on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in January 2022. The teenager had animosity towards Balin due to his relationship with the teen’s former girlfriend. Provocative videos from the girl’s phone further fueled the conflict.
On the night of the incident, the teenager armed himself with a steak knife and confronted Balin. He threw the first punch and during a second altercation, stabbed Balin in the chest, causing a fatal injury to his heart. The court heard that the teenager had no intention of leaving or putting down the knife, expressing a desire to kill Balin.
Justice Elizabeth Wilson, in sentencing the teenager, acknowledged the videos as provocation but also found that the drive to Balin’s house showed intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Balin’s father described the incident as devastating, causing immense pain and destroying many lives. He spoke of the ongoing emotional turmoil and sleepless nights he experienced, reliving the night of his son’s stabbing.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Wilson took into account the teenager’s traumatic past, including finding his mother’s body when he was a child. The teenager will be required to serve half of the seven-year sentence.
The heartbreaking statement from Balin’s father underscores the devastating impact of the tragedy on the Stewart family. The sentencing serves as a reminder of the lasting consequences of impulsive and violent actions.