'Pamper party' murder-accused's mental state questioned

A forensic psychiatrist has told the High Court a woman accused of murder at a west Auckland 'pamper party' was unlikely to have acted unconsciously when she plunged a knife into the victim.

Anna Browne is charged with killing Carly Stewart with a single stab at the party last year.

Browne claimed she'd taken a variety of drugs and alcohol beforehand including PCP, methamphetamine, GHB and vodka.

Under cross-examination from Crown lawyer Scott McColgan, forensic physiatrist Dr David Street told the jury it wasn't likely Ms Browne was suffering from an "automatism" - when someone acts without conscious thought or intention.

Dr Street said that when a person suffers automatism they can often engage in strange erratic behaviour. He cited a previous unrelated case where a person had urinated on a couch thinking it was a toilet.

But in this case the accused was engaging with people, retrieved the knife used in the incident, and then concealed it before attacking the victim. He said this behaviour wasn't consistent with an automatism.

The defence argues that a mixture of drugs and alcohol "may" have led Browne to committing the act unintentionally, citing previous witnesses who claimed Browne appeared in a trance-like state following the incident.

The defence accepts Browne is responsible for Ms Stewart's death, but says she didn't have murderous intent at the time she struck the fatal blow.

The defence is expected to begin giving evidence later on Thursday.