Montreal

Luka Magnotta invented tale he told psychiatrist, Crown suggests

A Crown prosecutor spent the morning grilling a psychiatrist who evaluated Luka Magnotta’s criminal responsibility, trying to poke holes in the accused's version of what happened the night he killed 33-year-old Jun Lin.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

Luka Magnotta has acknowledged that he killed Concordia University student Jun Lin, but says he is not criminally responsible because of mental illness. (Canadian Press)

A Crown prosecutor spent the day grilling a psychiatrist who evaluated Luka Magnotta’s criminal responsibility, trying to poke holes in the accused’s version of what happened the night he killed 33-year-old Jun Lin.

Magnotta, on trial for murder in Lin's death, has acknowledged in his defence that he committed the acts that killed the Montreal university student, but says he was not criminally responsible because of mental illness.

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier asked psychiatrist Marie-Frédérique Allard on Wednesday if it was possible that Magnotta had lied to her, and even suggested Magnotta was a "pathological liar" who had no issues with lying.

Allard responded that she was largely satisfied with the answers she obtained, although she said it’s always difficult to get the full story from some patients — something she said psychiatrists learn to live with.

His story doesn’t add up.-—Louis Bouthillier, Crown prosecutor

The prosecutor then pointed to a psychiatric assessment at the Jewish General Hospital in April 2012, a visit that Allard had testified about during questions from the defence, saying Magnotta lied to the doctor about his symptoms to avoid being hospitalized.

"He was ready to lie then to avoid hospitalization. Wouldn’t he be ready to do the same thing to avoid going to prison?" Bouthillier asked.

Allard said her main preoccupation was to evaluate whether Magnotta was faking it, and she determined he was suffering from a psychosis brought on by his paranoid schizophrenia. 

When the prosecutor proposed that Magnotta invented his story as he went along, giving a different version to different psychiatrists, Allard responded that Magnotta’s illness and the trauma of the crime could have caused lapses in his memory.

The Crown stressed that only Magnotta knows what happened that night, and pointed out that Allard was unable to interview anybody who spent time with the accused in the days leading up to the killing.

Prosecutor questions Magnotta's story

Bouthillier threw rapid-fire questions at Allard, a sharp contrast to the long, drawn-out testimony the forensic psychiatrist delivered for the defence over three days.

The prosecutor highlighted what was left out of Magnotta’s version of events, including that the accused bought paint in the hours after killing Lin, and applied it to the suitcase before placing the victim’s torso inside. 

"Is it possible [he did that] to make sure a passerby wouldn’t pick up the suitcase?" Bouthillier asked.

Allard responded she didn’t ask about that.

Bouthillier also grilled Allard on where Magnotta got the sleeping pills he said he and Lin took the night of the crime.

She said he told her they were left over from his last prescription in 2010. But the Crown pointed out that in 2011, Magnotta had attempted to get a renewal and was refused.

"His story doesn’t add up," the prosecutor concluded.

More questions than answers 

Bouthillier bombarded the psychiatrist with detailed questions about why Magnotta did what he did in the hours following the killing, such as buying new sheets or throwing out pillows.

Allard’s response was often that she didn’t ask the question, or if she did, the accused did not answer it.

Occasionally, the psychiatrist offered a hypothesis to counter one proposed by the Crown.

When the prosecutor suggested Magnotta threw items in the garbage to hide them from police, Allard countered that it could have been done to hide traces from the government agents that Magnotta, in his psychotic state, believed were after him.

The Crown then showed surveillance video in which Magnotta is wearing the victim’s blue-and-white baseball cap after the killing, and noted the accused still had it when he was arrested in Berlin 10 days later.

“Could it be a trophy?” Bouthillier asked, eliciting no response from the psychiatrist.

A few minutes later, Allard suggested that instead of being a trophy, the hat could have been, in Magnotta’s mind, proof to be handed to government agents about what happened.

The Crown noted Allard never asked that question, nor did she challenge the accused on why he threw items away before leaving for Europe.

During her cross-examination, Allard offered a couple of answers that she failed to include in her 127-page report.

When asked why not, the psychiatrist explained that she mentioned it in front of the jury. The prosecutor responded that if he had not asked the question, the jury would never have received the information.

Psychiatrist: Impossible to impose logic

The prosecutor asked why Magnotta would have left his apartment in the middle of the night, if, as Allard’s report states, he believed a black car with government spies was waiting for him outside.

The psychiatrist responded that although it didn’t appear logical, it is impossible to impose logic on the actions of someone in a psychotic state, because their actions are not based in the same reality as others.

Allard testified she has performed more than 850 evaluations for the courts over the last 15 years — mainly for the defence.

The Crown will continue its cross-examination of the psychiatrist on Thursday.