A senior New Zealand psychiatrist has given evidence to a court behind a shroud of anonymity despite being the responsible clinician for a man whose body was found hanging upside down in a drum of water in a Samoan prison.
The man, who the Herald cannot name for legal reasons, treated mental health patient Hans Dalton before he travelled with his family to Samoa for a holiday in December 2012.
Dalton suffered a mental health episode during a cyclone, leading to his family seeking aid for the 38-year-old from local authorities.
But, despite committing no crime, he was taken to Tafa'igata prison and on Boxing Day his bruised body was found hanging upside down in a drum of water inside a cell.
While the Samoan Government has not been forthcoming with information about Dalton's death, the mystery doctor gave evidence in the long-awaited coroner's inquest in Auckland today.
The doctor was Dalton's responsible clinician from April 2012.
He told the court his patient was "very challenging" and could be intrusive and intimidating for staff.
However, he added, Dalton had not shown any inclination of self-harm or suicidal intent in 2012.
Samoan police initially declared Dalton's death a suicide but later charged an inmate with murder, but the conviction was quashed due to a lack of evidence.
Dalton's extensive medical history was outlined by the doctor, which included three admissions to an acute mental health facility and his "poor compliance with treatment" and cannabis use.
He said the plan for the Daltons' trip to Samoa was for them to contact the doctor if there were problems and he we would contact Samoan authorities.
Despite being employed by a publicly funded clinic and giving evidence in his professional capacity, his identity has been protected from the general population for "justice" and "public order" reasons, Coroner Peter Ryan ruled.
Further reasons were not provided in open court by the coroner.
Earlier today, at the outset of the hearing, the Daltons' family lawyer Olinda Woodroffe told Coroner Ryan she did not want any further delays but wished to reserve her right to appeal the suppression decision to the High Court.
The Herald will also consider an appeal of Coroner Ryan's interim order.
Earlier in the inquest, the court heard Samoan Government authorities have refused to disclose valuable documents which may shed light on Dalton's death.
But in what was a revelation to those present today, the New Zealand pathologist who conducted the post-mortem examination had already been given several pieces of evidence.
Coroner Ryan said there was a "great paucity of information that is reliable".
"If this death had occurred in New Zealand I would have reports from police and inspector of prisons, plus witness evidence," he said.
"However, this death occurred in Samoa, six years ago. Repeated requests have been made from me to Samoan authorities to provide any police reports [and] statements from witnesses with any actual knowledge."
No official information from any of the Samoan authorities, except the Samoan Ombudsman, was handed over, Coroner Ryan said.
The 2014 report said Dalton's death "reflects miserably on the capacity of Samoa Police to be sensitive and responsive to the situation of a mentally ill person".
A transcript was also provided of a disciplinary hearing of three police officers who were at the prison when Dalton died.
Sergeant Heather Ruddell told the court she had sought the help of Interpol in the police's efforts to gather evidence but they had no legal jurisdiction in Samoa.
Forensic pathologist Kate White, who conducted Dalton's post-mortem examination before his body was returned to New Zealand, said she found the Auckland man had drowned.
She also found several abrasions and superficial lacerations on Dalton's body.
"To be clear, none of us were there, but some of the injuries could be explained … by some psychotic violent agitated behaviour."
White said it remains a possibility Dalton, who was discovered with "frothy stuff at the mouth", was forcibly placed into the drum of water by someone else.
The court also heard several documents had been disclosed to White by Samoan authorities but the information failed to make its way to Coroner Ryan before today.
"You are the beneficiary of a lot of material from the Samoan Government that we have not seen," Christopher Gudsell QC, who is assisting the coroner, told White.
Dalton's family met with Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters in September this year in a bid to speed up the inquest process.
Shortly after the meeting this week's inquest was scheduled.
In a separate civil proceeding, the Dalton family tried to sue the Samoan government for $18.9 million over the death.