'Like torture': Killer asks for pain medication to be reinstated

Andrew Macmillan. Photo: One News
Andrew Macmillan in 2007. Photo: One News
A Dunedin murderer claims he is suffering such pain in prison he is unable to wipe his bottom.

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.

Jayne McLellan. Photo: Supplied
Jayne McLellan. Photo: Supplied
“MacMillan says . . . the effects of not having it are that he wakes up three to four times a night from pain, has trouble wiping his bottom, cannot use his right arm to wash himself, it hurts to dress himself and tie his shoelaces, repetitive motion such as writing causes pain and he suffers from anger and depression. His right shoulder, neck and upper arm hurt so much that his whole right arm is becoming redundant. He has woken at night crying from the continuous pain. He says the sleep deprivation is like torture,” Justice Gault said.

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.

 

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