‘Ottawa’ Expert Witness Based Report on Accused Mountie’s Version of Events, Trial Hears
A psychologist testifying at the trial of an Ottawa Mountie accused of severely abusing his son said he accepted the father’s version of events as fact, and that those facts formed the basis of the report the clinician wrote for the court.
The 44-year-old member of the Royal Mounted Police and his wife, the boy’s stepmother, have both pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault, failing to provide the necessaries of life and forcible confinement.
The father also faces charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.
His 37-year-old wife and step mother of the boy was also charged with assault with a weapon. A publication ban prevents naming anyone in the trial in order to protect the identity of the boy, who is now 14 years-old.
The psychologist has treated the Mountie in more than 50 one-hour therapy sessions.
The expert, who testified all week through a French interpreter, is arguing the Mountie is not criminally responsible for abusing his son due to severe PTSD and a dual personality disorder as a result of being sexually assaulted several times as a young boy.
Cross examination of expert on Friday
Under cross examination Friday, the psychologist told the Crown he didn’t read reports or talk to police, psychiatrists or family members to determine whether the man is not criminally responsible.
Crown prosecutor Marie Dufort asked the psychologist why his notes from sessions with the Mountie had very few details about the boy’s behaviour and the father’s own actions involving the chaining-up and burning of his son.
“The goal of therapy sessions isn’t to take down factual information,” the psychologist said.
Dufort pressed the point: “I am suggesting to you that you asked (the accused) for facts and then you put them in your court report verbatim,” she said.
“Yes, of course,” the psychologist replied.
The psychologist testified that his goal in writing the court report was to evaluate “the true nature of the man’s condition.”
He added he wasn’t a legal expert.
No consultation on facts of case, expert admits
The Crown also wanted to know if the clinician detected any malingering from his patient and whether he trusted him.
“Yes I do. I know when someone is lying,” he said.
The cross examination grew tense when Crown prosecutor Dufort asked whether he read medical reports or spoke to psychiatrists who evaluated the Mountie to test the credibility of what he claimed.
The psychologist admitted he hadn’t.
“Look, each time I’m told something I will evaluate if it’s valid and I don’t believe I need to go any further,” he replied.
“There is no use without it compromising my relationship with [the accused].”
Judge ruled testimony admissible, ‘with reservations’
Earlier in the week the Mountie’s lawyer, Robert Carew asked the psychologist if he was able to testify as an independent, objective witness.
“Yes I believe so,” said the psychologist. “I have an obligation to respect my code of ethics and if I don’t respect that it will affect my relationship to [my client.]”
Dufort also challenged the psychologist by suggesting he’d have difficulty providing unbiased expert evidence due to his loyalty to his client.
The psychologist said he did consult a Supreme Court ruling to guide him on providing objective evidence.
In ruling the psychologist’s expert evidence was admissible, Justice Robert Maranger said on Wednesday he was doing so with “reservations.”
“He (the psychologist) has never testified in court,” said Maranger. “And he’s never provided opinion in a case where NCR (not criminally responsible) is the defence”
The trial was scheduled to be completed on Friday but has been adjourned until mid-July.