Barrister Stephen Kissick (left) and Rockhampton solicitor Joanne Madden (right) who are representing Daniel George Hong, a man on trial accused of murdering Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett.
Barrister Stephen Kissick (left) and Rockhampton solicitor Joanne Madden (right) who are representing Daniel George Hong, a man on trial accused of murdering Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett. Kerri-Anne Mesner

'Syn' hit the market at time of Rocky double murder

A DRUG user and alleged dealer involved in Rockhampton's "seedy underbelly” has given evidence of a new synthetic drug on the market at the time of the alleged murders and its extreme potency.

Brendon Taylor gave evidence yesterday in the trial of Ian Robert Armstrong and Daniel George Hong, who have pleaded not guilty to murdering Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett in March 2013.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury, who used the term "seedy underbelly” in her opening statement on Wednesday, questioned Mr Taylor on the drug Syn, also known as MDPV or synthetic amphetamine.

Mr Taylor said the drug gave users a "big rush of energy”, comparing it to a roller-coaster ride.

"It's an amazing feeling,” he said.

"It's pleasurable.

"A very small amount could be used for a number of people.

"It's extremely potent and very dangerous.”

Under questioning, Mr Taylor indicated one gram of ice could amount to 10 hits while one gram of Syn could amount to up to 60 hits.

He said in February and March 2013, he was using 0.5g a day of the drug, maybe more.

"I've got a fairly big tolerance to the synthetic. I had been using it for quite some time,” Mr Taylor said.

He said it impacted users differently depending on the purity of the drug, the amount people take, and their tolerance levels.

Under cross-examination by Mr Hong's defence barrister, Stephen Kissick, the court heard Syn could also cause memory impairment and paranoia.

Ms Barnett's close friend since their young teenage years, Pauline Bunn, talked of a time before Christmas 2012 where Ms Barnett had been using Syn for weeks with little sleep and talked about stealing "$10,000 and a couple of ounces of drugs” from Mr Hong that were hidden inside a wall.

The court heard Ms Bunn had told police that Ms Barnett was "freaking out. She was f---ed up on MDPV” at the time of this conversation.

Mr Kissick asked why Ms Bunn wasn't so adversely affected. "That was the first time I tried it,” she said.

"She (Barnett) had been on it for a couple of weeks. She hadn't slept much.”



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