Another psychiatrist tells Magnotta murder trial accused was in psychotic state

Another forensic psychiatrist who analyzed Luka Rocco Magnotta says he came to the conclusion the accused was suffering a schizophrenia-linked psychotic episode when he killed and dismembered Jun Lin.

MONTREAL — Another forensic psychiatrist who analyzed Luka Rocco Magnotta says he came to the conclusion the accused was suffering a schizophrenia-linked psychotic episode when he killed and dismembered Jun Lin.

Dr. Joel Watts, who met with Magnotta between September 2012 and September 2013, told jurors Friday his evaluation led him to conclude that while the accused was aware of what he was doing, he could not appreciate that it was wrong.

Magnotta has admitted to killing Lin in May 2012, but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.

The Crown contends the slaying was planned and deliberate.

Watts is the eighth defence witness at Magnotta’s murder trial, which is at the end of its seventh week.

His assessment is similar to that of another psychiatrist hired by the defence, Marie-Frederique Allard, who testified that Magnotta’s schizophrenia was out of control in May 2012.

“My opinion regarding Mr. Magnotta’s mental state at the time … is that he was suffering from an acute episode of psychosis,” Watts said.

“He suffers from schizophrenia and on those days (in May 2012), he was suffering from an acute psychotic break of that schizophrenia.”

Watts said the psychosis is linked to each of the five charges against Mangotta: first-degree murder; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.

“Despite Mr. Magnotta’s psychotic episode on those dates, my opinion was he was able to appreciate physically what he doing and the consequences of what he was doing,” Watts added.

“For each of his charges, I do not think he knew it was wrong, due to his psychosis.”

Watts accompanied Montreal police to Berlin to arrest Magnotta after German authorities decreed that a psychiatrist had to be present before they handed him over in June 2012.

Watts observed Magnotta and provided medication as needed on the flight back to Canada.

A police detective told Watts that Canadian government officials said it was the first time a psychiatrist had been obliged to accompany an accused from another jurisdiction. Authorities agreed to the stipulation in order to expedite the process of returning him to Canada.

Watts was later hired by the defence to conduct an assessment of Magnotta’s criminal responsibility.

He met face-to-face with Magnotta for about 38 hours in 2012 and 2013. He then saw him for a few hours last month.

Watts also spoke to Magnotta’s mother, maternal grandmother, sister and father.

He signed off on his final 124-page report last February and called the evaluation the most difficult of his career.

“It was not easy, this was an extremely difficult assessment for many different reasons,” Watts said. “It was quite an arduous and difficult process, possibly the most difficult case I’ve done yet.”

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