Allen Ball was already dead when police officers who had not checked on him for the preceding 30 minutes began resuscitation efforts, an expert witness told a manslaughter trial.
Dr Paul Quigley analysed Hwera Police Station CCTV footage that had captured Balls final hours, before the 55-year-old died in a cell on June 1, 2019.
There was definitely a period of time that Mr Ball was deceased before the resuscitation commenced, Quigley said in evidence on Monday, the beginning of week three of the High Court trial of three Taranaki officers at New Plymouth.
After a half hour gap in checking on Ball, who had been earlier arrested and was snoring in his underwear on the cell floor, one of the accused made a check around 2.35am.
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The subject of the manslaughter case is Allen Ball, who died in a cell at Hwera Police Station on June 1, 2019.
It was then that alarm bells rang for the officers, who realised Ball was cold and without a pulse.
Quigley, who commented in evidence on Balls erratic and truly failing respirations throughout that early morning, said he would have died sometime after the last check at 2.05am.
And that would be consistent then with what happened in the resuscitation phase, he said.
Both the AED and then the paramedics themselves, the only electrical findings they found was no electrical finding.
This is known as an asystolic arrest, Quigley said, explaining such an event occurs when the heart and the brain have been deprived of oxygen for so long that there is no activity left.
Ball was arrested and taken to Hwera Police Station hours before his death.
After four minutes or so you get brain death, and then you may have up to 15 20 minutes that the heart itself will carry on somewhat, but it even reached a stop point of that.
Police commenced resuscitation about 2.40am, and paramedics arrived soon after.
Ball was pronounced dead at 2.53am. His cause of death was codeine, tramadol and alcohol toxicity.
The absolute turning point for any reversal of Balls condition would have been at the 2.05am check, but even then it was pretty grim, Quigley said.
Earlier, Andre Slierendrecht told the court the major decision should have been made to seek medical help when Ball first arrived at the station.
Slierendrecht, Triple One Care managing director, which provides first aid training to police officers, also viewed the CCTV footage and said it was clear Ball, at that earlier stage, was in a decreased level of consciousness.
Defence lawyer Susan Hughes QC is representing one of the three accused officers. (file photo)
That Ball had not responded to continued pain compliance techniques, and that he then lay on the cold concrete cell floor for a lengthy period without movement, was indicative he was unconscious.
At a reasonable level of consciousness, a human body would automatically try to warm itself by either moving into a foetal position or rouse itself enough tograb clothing or a blanket, he said.
At no stage did he move.
Under cross-examination, defence counsel Susan Hughes QC submitted the officers had no reason but to believe that Ball was just a drunk man sleeping.
Contrastingly, Slierendrecht said the primary indication would have been that Ball got into the patrol car by himself but had to then be carried out.
Justice Susan Thomas is hearing the case in the High Court at New Plymouth. (file photo)
Hughes said in her clients experience of dealing with drunks, some come, some sleep, some snore. All get up in the morning and are processed through the courts.
This would affect the framework within which the accused made her judgment, Hughes suggested, to which Slierendrecht agreed.
And if the officer relied solely on observations in respect of Ball, such as how his chest was moving, how they knew him to be drunk and was heard to snore, most would assume that he was asleep, Hughes submitted.
Slierendrecht said most would, but a drunk was usually rousable.
And this person did never appear rousable.
Officers underwent a one-day first aid course at police college and a refresher every two years, it was heard.
Hughes submitted snoring, a common feature in middle-aged, overweight men but also a sign of airway compromise, was never addressed within this training.
The trial continues.

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