NEWS

Luka Magnotta did not need constant care: jail psychiatrist

11/06/2014 01:31 EST | Updated 01/06/2015 05:59 EST
Luka Magnotta was technically discharged by the first psychiatrist who treated him at the Rivière-des-Prairies detention centre in Quebec, after he concluded the man accused of murder did not need regular psychiatric meetings.

Dr. Renée Roy, Magnotta’s current psychiatrist, testified under cross-examination in a Montreal courtroom Thursday that she took over the file from Dr. Jacques Talbot in November 2012, at the request of Magnotta, who is charged with first-degree murder in the dismemberment of international student Jun Lin in May that year. 

Talbot had changed the accused’s anti-psychotic medication. After numerous sessions, he concluded in August 2012 that Magnotta was stable and he should only meet with a psychiatrist if needed.

In November of that year, Roy started treating Magnotta and soon began to see him every week.

Talbot was easing into retirement, but Roy understood that Magnotta wanted a new psychiatrist so he could return to his original anti-psychotic medication, a request she refused.

He also complained that it was hard to communicate with Talbot in English, and the doctor occasionally spoke in French around him. Magotta does not speak French.

Filtering information?

At first, Magnotta hid the fact he was hearing voices from Roy, she testified. The psychiatrist explained that Magnotta was afraid he would be placed in isolation if she knew. 

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier asked if Magnotta filtered the information he provided, choosing when to speak up about symptoms.

Roy replied that many of her patients do the same.

The psychiatrist told the court Magnotta was receptive and open with her. He took his medication, she said, and the two times he stopped because of significant side effects, he let her know during their following meeting.

Roy also said she spoke with two other psychiatrists involved in the case, Dr. Marie-Frédérique Allard and Dr. Joel Watts, about Magnotta, who gave the authorization to break patient confidentiality.

Magnotta had a crush on nurse

In April 2013, Magnotta developed a crush on a male nurse who was friendly and complimentary, the court heard.

Magnotta interpreted the nurse’s behaviour as a sign of possible attraction, and sent him a “pretty crude” letter, Roy testified.

Magnotta also created mood lighting in his cell, hoping the nurse would visit, and was disappointed and anxious when the detention centre’s administration found out and transferred the nurse to another department.

The Crown asked whether it’s surprising for patients with mental-health problems to have similar romantic or sexual desires, and Roy responded — not at all.

The defence will continue presenting its case — that Magnotta should not be held criminally responsible in the killing —with a new witness Thursday afternoon.

Magnotta is charged with five offences. He has admitted to the physical acts behind the charges, but has pleaded not guilty.

The Crown alleges the killing was premeditated.

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