By Dylan Freeman-Grist
The defence of Farshad Badakhshan, who stands accused of murdering Ryerson student Carina Petrache in July 2010, closed on March 25.
The completion comes after a three-day-long cross-examination of the defence’s forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Ramshaw.
During her questioning, which began on March 19, Crown attorney Jennifer Loftt attempted to poke holes in Ramshaw’s conclusion that Badakhshan was not criminally responsible for Petrache’s death.
Loftt suggested the possibility that Badakhshan, in light of a an impending sentence, was exaggerating the symptoms of his mental illness in order to access “secondary gains.”
She cited evidence of a an account given by Stacey Walker, an estranged ex-girlfriend of Badakhshan, who claimed that he had once told her he could “use his mental illness to get away with anything.”
Loftt noted that Ramshaw had not utilized a psychologist to institute specific tests which are used to help determine if someone is attempting to mislead with their symptoms.
Ramshaw replied that she takes into account the possibility of a patient exaggerating symptoms and that the decision to utilize a psychologist to administer extra tests is a decision she makes on a case-by-case basis.
Ramshaw noted that specific tests “do not tell you what was going on at the time of the offence but how the person is presenting now.” She explained her job as a forensic psychiatrist is to determine whether or not Badakhshan was mentally compentant in July 2010.
“It remains my clinical view that there is no evidence he was [faking] a mental disorder,” Ramshaw said. She cited various medical records of Badakhshan leading up to Petrache’s death, all of which she believes suggested a decline in Badakhshan’s mental function.