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Andrew Ronald MacMillan (54), who is currently serving a life sentence at the Otago Corrections Facility after killing 17-year-old Jayne McLellan and dumping her naked body in the Kaikorai Stream in 1988, has taken his bid to have his opiate medication reinstated to the High Court.
A hearing into the matter took place in Auckland at the start of the month at which Justice Ian Gault refused to change the status quo before the issue was fully argued.
Macmillan was paroled in July last year but recalled two months later to continue serving his life term.
The court heard the murderer had been using pain medication since suffering an injury many years ago.
Until 2019, and during his release, MacMillan was prescribed dihydrocodeine (DHC).
Medsafe’s website says the medication is normally used to relieve pain following surgery, for pain associated with cancer and “chronic severe pain where other pain medicines have not been successful”.
Since being back behind bars, a doctor stopped MacMillan’s prescription – part of a treatment plan to wean the prisoner off the drug.
The killer argued the decision was tantamount to torture.
MacMillan said it was effectively a breach of his human rights
Sean Kinsler, counsel for Corrections, noted DHC was considered inappropriate by the departments “Safe Prescribing Guidelines” because of the potential for misuse.
“There are potentially safer and equally effective alternative medications available,” he said.
Justice Gault said the law did not permit him to direct Corrections to reinstate MacMillan’s prescription.
“The court’s role is not to second-guess decisions which involve judgement and, in this case, clinical expertise,” he said.
Even if a court, when the matter was argued fully, found the treatment decisions to be unlawful it could only require the relevant decision-maker to reconsider its decision in accordance with law.