Adrian Phillips must have known he would kill Bayden Williams when he shot him in the head with a sawn-off shotgun, the Crown has told a jury.
And whether there was intent is what the jury in the murder trial of Phillips has to decide, they were told during closing submissions in the High Court at Hamiton today.
Defence counsel Ron Mansfield, QC, said Phillips, 24, was entitled to defend himself from Williams who Phillips believed was carrying a knife and was going to kill him.
Mansfield said at the very worst the appropriate verdict should be one of guilty to manslaughter if self-defence was not supported, because Phillips "lacked capacity" when he shot Williams.
However, Crown prosecutor Jacinda Hamilton asserted Phillips must have known Williams would not survive the final and fatal shot to the head on the Kopu-Hikuai Rd near Thames on August 5, 2020.
She said Phillips' story that he fatally shot Williams in self-defence as the young man charged up a bank at him could not be true based on the evidence.
Her claim that Phillips lied to the jury during his trial was dismissed by the defence.
Mansfield said Williams was known for carrying a knife and being violent but Hamilton said the 20-year-old father did not habitually carry a knife and was not carrying a weapon other than a sentimental pocket knife when he was ambushed by Phillips and rammed off the road.
Neither did he have one in his hand when Phillips claimed Williams charged up the bank threatening to "f**king cut" him.
Hamilton said the evidence showed Williams was actually crouching near his crashed car, already shot once in the thigh, wounded and in pain when Phillips advanced on him as the aggressor, shooting him in the shoulder.
She told the jury Williams could not have charged up the 3.2 metre bank [3.7m when accounting for the slope] to the roadside where a final shot to the head almost immediately killed him.
This was because Williams was badly injured by the shot to the thigh and expert evidence heard during the trial proved Williams was in the crouching position when he was shot in the shoulder because human tissue, fabric from his sweatshirt, and shotgun pellets were found on the bonnet of the car.
Hamilton said Phillips had harboured a grudge against Williams for eight months before the killing because of an earlier altercation in which Williams got the upper hand over Phillips.
It was not the Crown case that Phillips set out to murder Williams but instead to confront, intimidate and frighten the young father.
She pointed out that Phillips' version of events changed from what he told the police immediately afterward to what he told the jury.
Initially, he said after the crash he got out of his ute without the sawn-off shotgun and went back to get it, but during his trial he said he had the gun with him.
Hamilton said if Phillips returned to his ute, it meant he could have driven away and did not have to shoot Williams but Mansfield said it only mattered that at the time the threat from Williams was imminent, Phillips was outside his ute with the gun.
Hamilton said it was inconceivable that Phillips loaded and discharged the gun and ejected the cartridges three times; a warning shot, a shot to the thigh and a shot to the shoulder, if his claim that Williams was charging up the bank was true because there was not enough time.
Mansfield said a large pool of blood showed Williams was fatally shot at the roadside which meant he did continue up the bank.
Hamilton said Williams made it up the bank "at a hobble at best" because he knew he was badly injured and flagging down a passerby was likely his only hope of survival.
She said it made no sense that Williams lunged with his left hand at Phillips before the fatal shot, because he had been shot in the left shoulder and would have had severely restricted motion. Not only that, he was right-handed.
"This left-handed lunge is a transparent attempt to justify a shot to the left side of the head."
When asked by police after the killing why he shot Williams, Phillips replied: "F**k all made me do it".
He admitted to having lost his temper, being in a rage, and being wound up before ramming Williams off the road.
Hamilton described Phillips as an angry man who was "embarrassed, humiliated and emasculated" that Williams put him in a headlock and held him down during a fight in January that year.
Phillips made threats of violence, including using a machete against Williams, leading up to the shooting.
He was having daily rages following a bonfire explosion that left Phillips badly burned in late 2018 and he was considering hurting random people.
Phillips said during his testimony he was depressed and suicidal before the shooting because of the bonfire accident, in which he set himself alight by pouring an accelerant on the flames.
Mansfield said Williams was a violent and abusive partner who displayed that violence to Phillips during the January "assault".
He said Phillips was a "simple, straightforward man" and asked the jury if he was the "crafty intellectual" who had the ability to construct a narrative of self-defence if it was not true.
Phillips was honest during police interviews when he could have stayed silent and the Crown's arguments were taken out of context, Mansfield said.
The reality was Phillips was acutely mentally unwell at the time of the shooting, he said.
But Hamilton said expert opinion from a psychiatrist during the trial was that Phillips' account of the shooting was not consistent with a panic attack.
Phillips said he froze in panic and couldn't think or talk when Williams got out of his car in the dark, backlit by his headlights.
Hamilton said Phillips attempted to cover up the killing, dragging Williams' body down to his car, disposing of shotgun cartridges, the gun, and ammunition, telling a friend to delete messages about Williams he sent earlier that night, and later making a plan to hide out.
"This case is about the choices Mr Phillips made when he was angry, when he lost his temper, when he shot and killed Mr Williams because in his emotional state he just didn't care he was causing irreparable harm.
"He must have known, that a shot to the head with that weapon, the weapon he would use for 'Going nato', would kill Mr Williams. He knew that it would cause death and he did it anyway. That, members of the jury, is murder."
Justice Melanie Harland will sum up tomorrow before the jury retires to consider its verdict.