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Fatal NSW street shooter ‘mentally sick’

A NSW man so irate at his neighbour he fired about 200 bullets into the neighbourhood, killing one person, was severely affected by a mental or cognitive impairment, a jury has been told.

Bradley Jason Mark White, 42, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Byron Tonks and injuring two other people during an hour-long shooting in Wyong on the NSW Central Coast in March 2020.

One of the numerous bullets fired from White’s home across Cutler Drive struck Mr Tonks as he sheltered with family in the front living room of his home, a Newcastle Supreme Court jury has been told.

White doesn’t dispute he shot Mr Tonks but is defending the charge by claiming his actions stemmed from a mental illness.

His barrister said jurors may be wondering why anyone would fire 200-odd bullets mostly across the street, killing one and injuring two others, “for no good reason”.

“He must be mentally ill or insane, or in the alternative completely addled by drugs,” Mark Hobart SC said on Wednesday.

“The defence says the drugs he took weren’t enough to addle him to that extent.”

Jurors will be asked to find that at the time of the shooting, White was “severely affected” by a cognitive impairment originating from a bashing in the year 2000 or a mental impairment, Mr Hobart said.

White has said he consumed about one gram of methylamphetamine (ice) on the day of the shooting, following about two months of withdrawing from regular ice and cannabis use.

Forensic psychiatrist Richard Furst is expected to tell the jury the Wyong man was suffering from an organic mood disorder with psychotic features. White also had post-traumatic stress disorder, a substance use disorder and a highly irrational mood.

“He was paranoid about his neighbours,” Mr Hobart said.

Dr Furst’s assessment is disputed by another forensic psychiatrist, who says White’s conduct was largely a result of his ice intoxication.

Jurors are expected to view White’s interview with police, in which he allegedly stated his motive was his fury at a young neighbour laughing, revving his car and playing loud music in previous days.

When the neighbour wouldn’t come out to fight, White said he poured petrol over the neighbour’s car and lit it.

Other people in the street told him White was “crazy stupid” so he did it again, before he thought “f*** it – I’m just going to go hard”.

“And that’s when I went and got a gun and started shooting,” the then-40-year-old said.

When asked who he was shooting at, he said “people”, crown prosecutor Kate Ratcliffe said on Tuesday.

As well as Mr Tonks’ murder, White is charged with two counts of shooting with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and four counts of shooting at a dwelling with reckless regard for the safety of people.

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