Psychiatric evidence debated in murder trial

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By Jake Scott and Dylan Freeman-Grist

A man who plead that mental illness was the reason he killed Ryerson student Carina Petrache has not had an accurate psychiatric assessment, according to Crown attorneys.

Farshad Badakhshan stands accused of murdering Petrache in July 2010.

Badakhsan admitted in court that he slit Petrache’s throat and stabbed her several times before he proceeded to light both himself and Petrache on fire.

Badakhshan is pleading that he is not criminally responsible for his actions due to mental illness.

The defence in the case submitted their own psychiatric summary of Badakhshan on Feb. 18, a move that the Crown argues was done intentionally late to confuse the jury on the psychological condition of Badakhshan.

The Crown argued that a twomonth break in the case should be granted so a full psychiatric summary can be completed.

A full assessment must be completed by a licensed forensic psychiatrist.

“This is a case that calls out for a comprehensive assessment,” said lead Crown attorney Jennifer Stanton, noting that the tragic nature of Petrache’s death demanded a thorough understanding of her killer.

Stanton noted that Badakhshan has a history of informing friends that he could rely on his mental illness to “get away with anything.” Although Judge Michael Dambrot agreed the defence’s summary was not to be considered a full psychiatric assessment, he denied the Crown’s request, citing that it would be an unnecessary burden on the jury to extend the trial. Dambrot granted only a two-week break in proceedings to allow the Crown to produce a counter to the defence’s psychiatric filing.

Stanton argued that the ruling left the Crown with a “spectacularly unrealistic” time frame to counter the defence’s filing.

She argued that after an “informal counseling of experts” the earliest the crown could get a forensic psychiatrist to compile a full assessment was April.

The trial, which began in January, has seen a medley of forensic experts testify over the past two months as well as residents who lived in the same building as Badakhshan.

Witnesses on the stand recounted both Badakhshan and Petrache wrapped in flames in the burning Annex area building.

The trial resumes March 3.

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