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Luka Magnotta showed no signs of psychosis a month before killing, psychiatrist testifies

11/25/2014 02:32 EST | Updated 01/25/2015 05:59 EST
The last psychiatrist to see Luka Magnotta before Jun Lin was killed said he found no signs of schizophrenia or psychosis during an hour-long assessment at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital’s outpatient psychiatry clinic, the first-degree murder trial heard on Tuesday.

Dr. Joel Paris diagnosed Magnotta as having a borderline personality disorder, with unstable moods and relationships.

“There was no evidence of an extended period of psychosis or chronic psychosis,” Paris told the court, adding that what he heard from Magnotta did not justify a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Magnotta has admitted to committing the acts, including killing Lin, but he has pleaded not guilty to the five criminal charges laid against him due to mental illness.

The Crown alleges the killing was planned.

During the April 2012 visit, Magnotta talked of being anxious, but he denied experiencing psychotic symptoms and only told the psychiatrist he was “paranoid about getting fat.”

He complained of impulsive behaviour, mood swings marked by highs and lows over several days, and chronic feelings of emptiness.

He also talked of compulsively pulling out his hair, causing bald spots.

Magnotta told Paris that he had been hospitalized four times as a teenager and that he had initially been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

But Magnotta claimed the previous diagnosis was fuelled by his cocaine use at the time and that it was later amended to bipolar disorder.

Paris told the court he’s still not sure why Magnotta came to the outpatient clinic that day.

“Maybe what we offered him did not correspond to what he was looking for,” Paris testified.

Diagnosis questioned

Under cross-examination, defence lawyer Luc Leclair suggested Paris has a bias towards diagnosing borderline personality disorder because that’s his specialty.

Leclair also accused Paris of dismissing schizophrenia without looking for the symptoms, a charge the doctor denied.

The psychiatrist admitted his diagnosis was tentative, as are all diagnoses after only one visit, he said.

Paris is the first of the Crown’s rebuttal witnesses to testify, as the trial enters its ninth week.

Earlier today, the defence officially rested its case after hearing from its 12th witness, the lead police investigator who handled the case.

The judge has informed the jury they could begin deliberating sometime in early December.

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