The man accused of sparking the chain of the events that led to police mistakenly shooting a teenage courier driver in Auckland may have little memory of what happened, a drug education specialist said today.
Stephen Hohepa McDonald, 50, unemployed of New Lynn, yesterday entered no plea to 29 charges in connection to the incident and made no application for bail when he appeared in court.
Ten of the charges alleged using a firearm against police officers.
McDonald was remanded in custody to reappear on February 5.
His lawyer, Roger Chambers, said outside court that McDonald, was a user of methamphetamine, or P, and had no memory of the events of last Friday.
Mike Sabin, managing director of Methcon Group Ltd, a company specialising in methamphetamine education, said McDonald's attempt to escape from police might well be "a total blur" because of P use.
Mr Sabin said McDonald appeared to be a "tweaker", or a methamphetamine user who was in the most destructive, violent and unpredictable phase of the cycle of P use.
Typically, tweakers might have been awake for many days, bingeing on the drug until either their supply ran out or they were no longer capable of achieving a high, because of depletion of dopamine reserves.
They would then start to experience drug withdrawal and cravings.
Mr Sabin said it was common for people in this phase to experience "significant memory loss while also displaying violent, unpredictable, and desperate behaviour, on the face of it appearing entirely psychotic".
"Tweakers" also experienced intense paranoia to the extent that they genuinely believed the delusions and hallucinations they were experiencing.
This was further heightened when they were pursued by police and, in this state, they seldom surrendered compliantly to arrest.
However, while McDonald appeared to be tweaking and might well have significant memory loss afterwards, "at the time he would have been fully aware of the situation, albeit seeing it unfold in a state akin to watching a video in fast forward".
"Beyond this, `intoxication' of this nature provides no defence in law to crimes carried out'."
Mr Sabin drew similarities to the cases of Antonie Dixon and Graham Burton.
Dixon is seeking a third trial after twice being convicted on charges that include murder and grievous bodily harm after a night of violence in January 2003, which included attacking two women with a samurai sword.
Burton is serving a life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 26 years for killing Lower Hutt man Karl Kuchenbecker in January 2007.
Mr Sabin said the bigger questions related to government and police failure over the past decade to meet the challenge of P use.
The charges McDonald faces stem from an incident on Auckland's Northwestern Motorway.
During the incident, courier driver Halatau Naitoko, 17, was killed when a bullet fired from a police rifle struck him in the chest during the crossfire of their engagement with McDonald.