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Luka Magnotta knew what he was doing was wrong: psychiatrist

12/02/2014 04:09 EST | Updated 02/01/2015 05:59 EST
The psychiatrist who was hired by the Crown to assess Luka Magnotta found more examples of personality disorders in the accused’s behaviour than symptoms of schizophrenia, particularly when he studied what he calls the “troubling” comparisons to the erotic thriller Basic Instinct.

Dr. Gilles Chamberland told Magnotta's first-degree murder trial in Montreal that Basic Instinct is key in the case because it appears as though Magnotta borrowed elements from the film for his life, such as characters’ names and quotes from the movie.

The conclusion in Chamberland's nine-page report is that even if Magnotta suffers from schizophrenia, there is nothing to indicate he did not know the crimes he committed were wrong.

For the psychiatrist, using the 1992 film as a guide is an example the crime is explained by Magnotta's personality disorders and not, as psychiatrists for the defence testified, by his paranoia that the victim was a government spy.

Magnotta not only used the name "Sharon," after Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone, in his escorting work but also her character's last name while in Europe. The psychiatrist said the idolization of movie stars fits with one of the criterion of narcissistic disorder.

But most troubling for Chamberland is the murder weapon in the film, a silver ice pick. Magnotta used the words ice pick in the name he gave to the online video showing parts of his crime, and a screwdriver painted silver was found near his apartment.

Chamberland also told the court that Magnotta used quotes from the film in the threatening email he sent to a U.K. journalist six months before Lin's death, warning he was planning to kill a human.

Magnotta has admitted to the acts, but has pleaded not guilty to five charges against him due to mental illness.

The Crown contends the killing was planned.

Obsession with appearance and attention 

Chamberland testified about an inscription written in marker on the wall of Magnotta's apartment reading: "If you don't like the reflection. Don't look in the mirror. I don't care."

The psychiatrist said the phrase could be interpreted in different ways, but for him, it shows the accused accepts his own personality and his actions.

The Crown also questioned Chamberland about an on-camera audition Magnotta did in 2008 to get on a plastic surgery reality show.

The psychiatrist said that during the audition, Magnotta talked of his looks being his primary concern in life, as he discussed the cosmetic surgery he had undergone or planned to undergo.

But Chamberland noted, as did one of the psychiatrists hired by the defence, that Magnotta appeared to enjoy being on camera, his thinking was organized and his behaviour appropriate.

The psychiatrist said the audition was a sign Magnotta wanted to further his career with attention and visibility, a trait observed in those with histrionic personality disorder.

Psychiatrist wanted to meet accused

Under cross-examination, the defence played an audio interview, and referenced written articles, in which Chamberland had commented on the case in May 2012, when police had named the suspect but had not yet arrested Magnotta.

In the audio from 2012, Chamberland is heard providing his theory that the suspect suffered from personality disorders, and that there was no way he could be found not criminally responsible.

Defence lawyers suggested the psychiatrist had already made up his mind about the case before he was hired to evaluate Magnotta, an accusation Chamberland denied.

Chamberland said he was simply commenting with what information was available to him at the time, through the media.

“The information I had pointed much more clearly to personality disorders,” he testified, adding that his opinion has not changed with the information he has studied since the arrest.

Chamberland told the court when he agreed to work for the Crown, he expected to meet with the accused, who later refused to sit down with him.

The forensic psychiatrist is expected to be the last of the Crown’s rebuttal witnesses, but the defence could ask the judge for permission to call another rebuttal witness.

The judge has already told the 14 members of the jury they could be deliberating to reach a final verdict at the end of next week.

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