A jury will soon decide what happened in the "very moment" a woman fatally shot her partner in rural Auckland, believing he was an intruder.
Amy Christine Smith is on trial in the High Court at Auckland accused of murdering Danny Bruce Taylor in April, 2019.
Smith's case is the only High Court trial edging closer to an end today as the Auckland region was plunged into an alert level 3 lockdown in the fight against Covid-19.
Back in April 2019, there was substantial amount of drying cannabis stashed in the converted barn Taylor called home in South Head and the pair feared it would be stolen.
There was "an appalling number" of guns lying about the barn and an "awful" decision was made to load them.
In his closing argument, Crown prosecutor David Johnstone said clearly there had been some thought about using those firearms against unwelcome visitors.
Believing she had sensed an intruder on the farm that night, Smith went downstairs and armed herself.
Johnstone said Smith now claimed the gun had accidentally gone off as she flinched.
This would have happened at the "very moment" the .22 happened to align with Taylor's left side, the court heard.
The bullet went through the 52-year-old's arm and lung, striking his heart.
But there was never an accident around pulling the trigger, rather, the accident was one of identity, Johnstone said.
This was how Smith herself had described the events at the time - as she repeatedly stated she thought Taylor was an intruder, he said.
Firstly, in her 111 call, then to two police officers and again in the letters she wrote from prison offering some explanation to relatives and friends.
Testing had also been completed to see if the gun would fire when its body was struck and it did not, the prosecutor said.
Further, he said, the trigger was also tested and needed an expected amount of pressure.
'We can't allow people to shoot first'
Johnstone said in all alleged murder cases there were elements of tragedy.
The jury was going to have to decide if Smith had intended to shoot at someone that night, regardless of the fact she did not intend to shoot her partner, he said.
"That may make this case a more difficult one for you," he said.
"In the eyes of the law, it does not matter who it is that you fire your shot at.
"We can't allow people to choose to shoot others ..."
Even cannabis thieves, or people who may have been nasty in the past, he said, unless there is a lawful justification.
"We can't allow people to shoot first and risk the particular kind of accident that happened in this case."
The kind of accident where a person ends up shooting their partner, he said.
In his closing, defence lawyer Peter Kaye said his client never consciously pulled the trigger, rather it happened in a moment of "panic and terror".
He recalled how she was alarmed by her dogs barking, had gone downstairs and turned off the lights because she felt exposed as if she were in a fishbowl.
The door was open, the court heard.
"She was terrified out of her skin. She retreated into that corner, distressed and in her emotional state she may have frozen. The gun wasn't aimed.
"Somehow the trigger went off."
The Crown had suggested she should have warned any potential intruder but then, he said, she would have given away her position to a "nasty horrible piece of work".
Smith's letters from prison explained why, but never how it had happened, he said.
The defence lawyer also had the start of Smith's 111 call replayed to the jury.
He then asked jurors; was that "put on" or was that just "raw human anguish?"
Kaye said it was "reasonably possible" his client had acted in self-defence that night.
"Your verdict should be one of not guilty," he told jurors.
If the Crown had "obliterated" that argument then the jury would be left with the result of manslaughter, Kaye said.
"You can't go any further. There is no way she intended death."
Justice Mary Peters will summarise the case tomorrow morning for the jury, who will then be expected to retire to consider the verdict.