A man who'd been on bad terms with his brother since a birthday function has been jailed for at least three years for fatally stabbing him in "a moment of madness".
Their unresolved dispute occurred about a year before Andrew John McDonald stabbed Edward McDonald once in the chest in January 2017, in a unit at Taree on the NSW mid north coast.
Earlier this year, a Supreme Court jury deliberated for only 35 minutes before finding McDonald not guilty of murder, possibly accepting that his intention was to do no more than frighten his brother.
The now 59-year-old had already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, which the Crown had not accepted.
In the Supreme Court sitting in Port Macquarie on Thursday, Justice Ian Harrison jailed McDonald for six years with a non-parole period of three years.
Edward McDonald's long-term partner lived in the Housing Department unit where the stabbing took place.
In the year before, his brother moved next door following the breakdown of his 38-year relationship.
"It would seem Mr McDonald and the deceased were even then not on good terms following an apparently unresolved dispute between them that had its origin in something that had occurred at a birthday function about a year beforehand," the judge said.
Their frequent arguments "regularly degenerated into slanging matches in which each of them would hurl abuse at the other" with Edward McDonald's partner being a "vocal contributor".
On the night of the stabbing, Edward McDonald and his partner became involved in a noisy domestic dispute.
His brother later told police they were talking about him, that "bad words were behind it" and when he went next door and asked them not to talk about him any more they just swore at him.
He then used a knife he had taken from his kitchen drawer to stab his brother once in the chest.
McDonald said he just snapped for some reason, describing it as "just a moment of madness".
He immediately went to his neighbour's and asked them to call police as he had stabbed his brother.
McDonald, whose indigenous background was marked by significant deprivation and disadvantage, had clearly been provoked by his brother, was unlikely to re-offend and had "excellent prosects of rehabilitation", the judge concluded.