Psychologist: Delusion or personality disorder?

Badakhshan is the accused in the first-degree murder trial of Ryerson student Carina Petrache. (Courtesy Facebook)

Badakhshan is the accused in the first-degree murder trial of Ryerson student Carina Petrache. (Courtesy Facebook)

A Toronto jury heard from a psychologist Monday that Farshad Badakhshan played up symptoms of psychosis in order to be found not guilty of murdering Carina Petrache.

Expert witness Dr. Angela Carter testified for the Crown, casting doubt on an earlier testimony made by a psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Ramshaw, for the defence.

Carter specializes in determining if defendants are faking symptoms, known as malingering, or are genuinely mentally ill.

While Carter did not give an opinion on whether or not Badakhshan is criminally responsible due to delusional disorder, she said she suspects his current diagnosis is inaccurate.

In her 75-minute medical session with Badakhshan, Carter noted that he seemed to have an awareness of what he was saying and how that could influence her diagnosis.

“The fit with delusional disorder was less than I would like to see in a diagnosis,” said Carter, who spoke with Badakhshan to test him for malingering. “There was, however, enough to suggest personality disorder.”

The difference between having one disorder or the other could be a crucial point in when the jury comes to a verdict.

Badakhshan has already admitted to killing Petrache on July 2, 2010.

But since, the trial has quickly evolved into an arms race between the Crown and defence to gather as many experts to testify about Badakhshan’s mental state.

The defence began the flurry of brain experts when it called forensic psychiatrist Ramshaw to testify two weeks ago.

Ramshaw testified that Badakhshan was suffering from a mental illness when he set Petrache and himself on fire in his Toronto apartment.

Her opinion is that Badakhshan should be found not criminally responsible of first-degree murder.

At least one more expert in the field is expected to testify before the trial ends.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on April 2, 2014.

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