Accused pleads not guilty due to insanity

CORNELIS KLEIN: The 52-year-old has been found not guilty due to insanity.
Fairfax Media
CORNELIS KLEIN: The 52-year-old has been found not guilty due to insanity.

A man who "thought he was God" when he deliberately rammed a police car, leading to the death of a 71-year-old man, has been found not guilty due to insanity.

Cornelis Klein, 52, appeared today in the High Court at Auckland over the death of Albany man Michael Roden Plimmer.

His trial for manslaughter was due to start next week.

Klein was driving a Jeep in Albany, Auckland, on February 2, 2010, when he started screaming about killing himself.

An 18-year-old girl was in the car and called police.

Klein became angry with a police car that sped past him with its lights flashing.

He gave the officers the finger then started pursuing them down Rosebank Rd at speeds up to 90kmh with the intent of "punishing" them.

He later told doctors he felt "God-like" and "strong and invincible" as he chased the officers.

Police said he deliberately rammed the police car as it waited at an intersection.

The crash created an eight-car accident.

Klein's Jeep subsequently rolled over Plimmer's Honda, crushing the roof and killing him instantly.

The police summary said Klein wanted "to punish [the officers] for passing him".

A psychiatrist has told the court Klein suffered from bi-polar disorder.

He was found to have the drug Lithium in his blood but the dosage was too low to control his condition.

When interviewed in hospital, Klein was agitated and aggressive.

Justice Keane said Klein's answers were vague and incomplete.

He told police he wanted to "set the standards".

When asked if he was concerned about the police officers he had hit, he said: "It's not very nice, they were human beings."

Justice Keane said Klein had deliberately rammed another car in Hamilton in 2003.

Psych reports said that in his grandiose and elevated state, Klein would not have known what he did was morally wrong.

Professor Graham Mellsop said when Klein got out of the car and saw the crash he did not feel any guilt.

An ambulance officer said Klein appeared "cocky" after the accident and spoke of being God.

Justice Keane said he accepted that Klein was suffering from a disease of the mind at the time.

A decision on what will now happen to Klein is now being discussed in court.