14-year-old in car shot up over drug debt

A gunman who shot at a man and a teenage girl over a suspected drug debt has been jailed for more than four years.

Matt Morell Dunjey, 37, appeared in the Dunedin District Court this week after racking up 11 charges in a year while his methamphetamine use was reportedly "out of control".

On March 3, Dunjey drove to Lynn St in Oamaru seeking payment from an associate.

As the man and the girl pulled into a residential driveway, Dunjey approached the left side of the vehicle with a .22 semiautomatic rifle and fired four shots.

Three of the bullets ricocheted away but one penetrated the door, pierced the rear headrest and ended up in the driver’s door panel.

The 14-year-old girl cowered in her seat, the court heard.

When the occupant of the home opened his front door, Dunjey turned the rifle on him, demanding money.

When the occupant hid, Dunjey gave up and was driven away by an associate.

Two days later, police saw Dunjey driving on State Highway 1 and began following.

Dunjey sped away but lost control of his vehicle and crashed down a grass verge.

He was seen running away with a backpack, which he later ditched.

After his arrest, the bag was found and contained almost $5000 of methamphetamine (13.5g), $6000 in cash and drug paraphernalia.

A loaded .22 rifle and semiautomatic rifle were also found.

Dunjey was flown to Dunedin Hospital, where his blood tested positive for methamphetamine.

The offending occurred while he was on bail for a previous incident involving many of the same factors.

On July 8 last year, the defendant was in an unwarranted vehicle travelling north on State Highway 1.

It was raining heavily when Dunjey overtook several vehicles in succession, pulling alongside the victim and ramming into the side of their car, causing both cars to be violently forced from the road.

The victim’s vehicle rolled and crashed into a row of trees, leaving the couple inside with serious injuries.

Dunjey was flown to hospital, where his blood tested positive for methamphetamine.

The victim faced Dunjey in court this week, reading an emotional statement in hopes of making the road "that one bit safer".

"For 28 years I travelled that road without incident ... This has been called an ‘accident’, but I don’t accept that terminology," she said.

The woman said Dunjey had shown a "blatant disregard" for others as he knowingly got behind the wheel after consuming drugs.

"He made his vehicle a weapon."

The woman suffered a traumatic brain injury, a collapsed lung, a dislocated kneecap, significant bruising and whiplash.

Her partner had a broken tibia and fibula, bruised ribs and fractured toes.

Fifteen months on from the crash, the woman was still struggling.

"I have daily, consistent headaches, flashbacks, difficulty finding words, brain fatigue ... PTSD, anxiety, a short temper, mood-swings and tears for no reason.

"[My employer] had to question whether I’m cognitively able to do my job."

The woman said there were days where she wished she had died in the crash.

Judge Jim Large commended her for her bravery and encouraged the defendant to heed her words.

A drug and alcohol assessor found Dunjey had a "strong motivation to change", despite further offending while locked up at the Otago Correctional Facility.

On June 15, after a visit from an associate, Dunjey was given "a routine rub-down" by a Corrections officer and was found to have secreted meth (.91g) and cannabis (1.87g) in his clothing.

Dunjey was convicted of two driving charges, three firearm charges, five drug charges and one charge of breaching community work.

Counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said her client was remorseful for his actions.

"When he is not using meth he does have positive qualities he is able to contribute to the community," she said.

The man received significant sentence discounts for his issues with addiction, mental health and his deprived background.

Dunjey was sentenced to four years and three months’ imprisonment, ordered to pay reparation of $9545 and disqualified from driving for four years.