A mother charged with driving under the influence of drugs and causing a crash that killed her 12-year-old daughter "vehemently denies" she was affected by any substances and is struggling "tremendously" with her loss, her lawyer says.
She was supported in court by the boss of a feared Auckland gang.
Toni Maree Ericksen, 32, appeared in the Waitakere District Court yesterday to face a charge of driving while under the influence of drugs causing the death of her daughter Bryer Rose Greenwood on July 9.
She is also facing three other charges relating to the crash - injuring her 8-year-old daughter Gemma Greenwood and another motorist while under the influence of drugs, and being an unlicensed driver driving while prohibited.
Bryer died in hospital from brain injuries caused by the two-vehicle crash just north of Helensville.
Ericksen was driving her daughters home from Gemma's netball game when her car and a four-wheel-drive vehicle collided on the Kaipara Coast Highway.
The passenger side of the car, where Bryer and her 8-year-old sister Gemma were sitting, smashed into the 4WD.
Police have refused to comment on the charges. But it is understood they took a blood sample from Ericksen after the crash.
She arrived at court yesterday with the president of the Auckland chapter of the Hells Angels gang, Douglas Jay.
She looked pale, drawn and anxious as she stood in the dock. A scar from a cut she sustained in the July 9 crash was visible on her face.
Mr Jay sat in court with several other supporters.
Ericksen was bailed to a Papakura address until her next court appearance on December 1.
She was ordered not to drive, consume or possess drugs unless they were prescribed and told to surrender her passport to the Waitakere District Court by the end of today.
Ericksen avoided journalists at court yesterday but her lawyer Ron Mansfield spoke to the Herald on her behalf last night.
He said she had suffered a "tragic loss".
"There's not a moment in the day when she doesn't have that accident in the forefront of her mind," Mr Mansfield said.
"She's striving to deal with the realities of it on a daily basis. She is tremendously affected. She's devastated by the family loss resulting from that accident."
He said Ericksen would "vehemently deny" the charges.
"In particular the alleged cause of the accident. She denies that any drug was the cause or contributed to the accident."
Ericksen and Mr Jay left court in the same car.
She was visibly upset as she got into the passenger seat and made obscene gestures at a Herald photographer. Other supporters verbally abused media at court.
Bryer's father, Ken Greenwood, Ericksen's ex-husband, was also in court. He declined to comment on the case.
A source said Gemma was still living with her mother, and was "doing well".
Child Youth and Family confirmed yesterday they were "working with" Ericksen since the crash and were "committed" to supporting Gemma through her trauma.
CYF northern regional director Grant Bennett said Bryer's death was tragic, but would not comment further.
"We have worked closely with police throughout this time," he said.
"As this court case has only just begun, it would not be appropriate to provide further detail at this time."