A PERSONALITY disorder may have contributed to Anthony Charles Apps' murder of Christopher Lamb in 2003, the Supreme Court heard in Lismore yesterday.
In expert testimony, psychiatrist Robert Delaforce told the court Apps, 29, suffered schizophrenia and a personality disorder that made him paranoid and easily angered.
Dr Delaforce told the court that Apps' schizophrenia appeared to have played no part in the shotgun murder of Mr Lamb at a farmhouse near Maclean in November, 2003.
However, he said his personality disorder could have been a factor in the killing.
Apps has pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Lamb by shooting him in the head at close range with the shotgun.
Dr Delaforce agreed with defence counsel Chris Bruce that Apps' personality disorder could have been exacerbated by Mr Lamb's bipolar disorder, which previous evidence had suggested was marked by 'hyper' episodes in which he would yell at people.
Asked if the personality disorder meant Apps posed a threat to the community at large, Dr Delaforce said: "Because it (the disorder) includes anti-social behaviour that's the problem; he has been an offender and that's the concern I would have.
"... I would say his schizophrenia must be treated forever ... but the main problem will be the personality disorder as expressed by anti-social behaviour.
"That can be difficult to control and that can recur."
Dr Delaforce said people suffering paranoia could be easily angered by comments that meant little to the people who made them.
"They can take offence from people who are just joking," he said. "Even neutral remarks can be taken quite personally."
Dr Delaforce said such personality orders could ease in intensity as their sufferers aged, usually when they reached their 40s. However, he said the intensity of Apps' personality disorder was unlikely to start waning before another five to 10 years.
The court will hear more expert psychiatric evidence on Tuesday, before taking sentencing submissions from the prosecution and the defence.