A retired pharmacist who supplied precursor drugs to a methamphetamine drug ring has told the court that he thought he was "helping police and the community".
Samuel Ross Pulman pleaded guilty to a representative charge of manufacturing methamphetamine at the High Court in Auckland in May. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
At a disputed facts hearing today, Pulman took the stand and told the court that he had been asked by police to keep selling the cold medicine to "pill shoppers" so they could catch more people as part of a surveillance operation.
"Pill shoppers" are used by manufacturers of methamphetamine - known as P - to buy cold medicines which contain precursor chemicals used to make the drug.
The police deny ever asking Pulman to sell the cold medicine and allege that he made money from the transactions.
The police say Pulman opened the pharmacy as early as 6.15am - over an hour and-a-half early - to knowingly sell cold medicine at inflated prices.
Pulman told the court that it all started when a "couple of jokers" came to the Pukekohe pharmacy where he was employed, to buy cold medicine that he knew would be used to make P.
"I gave them items because I felt scared and intimidated. I now realise that they took advantage," Pulman said.
He said he had a conversation with a local police officer who asked him to keep selling the drugs to the pill shoppers.
"I felt that I was helping police and the community in continuing to sell these items," Pulman said.
He told the court that he was relieved to find police installing cameras in the ceiling of the pharmacy, as part of their undercover operation.
"I thought police at that stage were looking after me," Pulman said.
He told the court that he did not benefit from selling boxes of cold medicine and that he banked the money along with the day's takings.
"I never took one cent from the sale of drugs," Pulman said.
"Looking back over this, I realise that I was a stupid person. I was naive and I hope you understand how this started," he said.
Pulman had a dozen supporters in the public gallery. The Herald previously reported that news of his drugs charge shocked his local community where he has been seen selling donated vegetables at the local market to raise money for youth programmes.