An expert in forensic psychiatry told a Toronto jury that in her medical opinion, Farshad Badakhshan was not criminally responsible for the murder of former Ryerson criminology student Carina Petrache.
Dr. Lisa Ramshaw, who has specialized in forensic psychiatry for 15 years, testified for the defence this week.
“It is my opinion that more likely than not (Badakhshan) was suffering from a mental disorder at the time,” said Ramshaw. “He was rendered unable to understand the wrongness of his behavior.”
Ramshaw testified that Badakhshan was suffering from delusional disorder on July 2, 2010, when he killed Petrache, his former girlfriend. Badakhshan stabbed Petrache several times, slit her throat and set her, himself, and his Toronto basement apartment on fire.
Delusional disorder is a relatively uncommon psychiatric illness that affects about 0.2 per cent of the population. People with delusional disorder commonly believe that people are following them, or that they are at the centre of a conspiracy. They are capable of normal conversation, so long as the person they are speaking with is not suspected to be a part of the plot.
For Badakhshan, that person was Petrache. Family members have testified saying Badakhshan slowly cut contact with them in the years leading up to the fire, and even made several threats toward his mother, Sedigheh Moradi.
Moradi testified last week, saying that she noticed a change in her son’s behaviour in 2005 when he dropped out of Dalhousie University and moved in with her. Moradi said Badakhshan was afraid people from Halifax were coming for him. She said that he wasn’t able to hold a job for more than a month.
Ramshaw says the fact that Moradi moved away from the family when he was young could have contributed to his anger issues.
“He had problems growing up, of course he’s going to take that with him,” says Ramshaw. “His world was closing in on him all the way up to the offense.”
According to Ramshaw, Badakhshan is still seriously mentally ill.
Since Badakhshan has already admitted to killing Petrache, the defence is arguing that he is not criminally responsible due to mental illness. Badakhshan had previously pleaded not guilty on the charge of first-degree murder.
Ramshaw is expected to continue her testimony on Monday, Mar. 24.