Man ‘chased down’ by group who fatally stabbed friend

Rex Martinich |

Emil Ackerman said he was chased by knife-wielding men after seeing his friend fatally stabbed.
Emil Ackerman said he was chased by knife-wielding men after seeing his friend fatally stabbed.

A man who saw his friend being fatally stabbed on the street told a jury the knife-wielding attackers then chased him into a poker machine lounge.

Members of the alleged murder victim’s family cried out in court while viewing security camera footage of the young man being stabbed and repeatedly punched in the middle of a tourist precinct.

Jye Sebastian Webb-Italia, 22,  pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in the Brisbane Supreme court to the murder of Raymond Harris at Surfers Paradise on September 23, 2020.

The 27-year-old father died from Webb-Italia stabbing him in the stomach when one group of men charged at another group on the footpath outside a pub about 9pm.

Webb-Italia pleaded guilty to the alternative charge of manslaughter that the prosecution did not accept and the matter proceeded to trial with his three co-accused.

Emil Ackerman told the jury on Wednesday he had been drinking beer and consuming the dissociative drug ketamine with Mr Harris on the night he died.

Mr Ackerman said he was sitting on a bench outside a Cavill Avenue pub when he saw two or three people attack Mr Harris, who was standing on the footpath.

“All I can really remember is looking up from my phone and seeing a group of people walking towards us carrying knives … I saw (Mr Harris) get attacked,” Mr Ackerman said.

Earlier on Wednesday the jury viewed security camera videos that captured Mr Harris being attacked from multiple angles.

The footage showed Webb-Italia and another man rushing up to Mr Harris and pushing him against a roadside tree and rubbish bin.

Webb-Italia stabs Mr Harris in the stomach and the other man is seen in the footage punching him as he falls to the ground in an attack that took a few seconds.

The footage showed a tourist pedicab tricycle with passengers travelling nearby just before Mr Harris was stabbed.

Webb-Italia’s brother Kyle Jack Webb, as well as Jarod James Miller, have pleaded not guilty to murder by aiding to kill Mr Harris.

Zaynn Stevannes Bekker has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact to Mr Harris’s murder and not guilty to an alternative charge of accessory to manslaughter.

Mr Harris was on the street after being kicked out of the pub for engaging in a loud and vulgar phone conversation with Webb.

The jury earlier heard Mr Harris had accused Webb during the call of associating with a man known only as “Chaos”, who had repeatedly robbed Mr Harris and his friends.

Mr Ackerman said he went back into the pub’s poker machine lounge after he saw Webb-Italia was holding what he described as a large hunting knife.

“They were chasing me down and I fended them off with my skateboard … I believe I hit (Webb-Italia) a few times,” Mr Ackerman said.

Under cross examination from Miller’s defence barrister Andrew Hoare, Mr Ackerman agreed the attack on Mr Harris was a “blur” that was difficult to accurately describe.