Triple murder: suspect's medical follow-up questioned

Triple murder: the medical follow-up of the suspect questioned

Suffering from schizophrenia, Abdulla Shaikh was followed only by a nurse in March, indicates the psychiatric report submitted to the commission responsible for his release.

A corridor of the Philippe-Pinel Institute, at Montreal

At the border between mental illness and legal responsibility, the triple murder that occurred this week in Montreal seems to be part of the chapter of crimes without real reason. Various shortcomings, however, could have led to tragedy, according to experts, particularly with regard to the follow-up of the schizophrenia from which the suspect suffered.

Across Quebec, we is in short supply, summarizes forensic psychiatrist Marie-Frédérique Allard about the nursing supervision in recent months of Abdulla Shaikh who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2018 and has since been declared not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.

One ​​of the conditions imposed on Mr. Shaikh to remain free was to comply with medical supervision and diligently take his prescribed medication for schizophrenia.

According to Dr. Vézina's psychiatric report, the suspect refused on several occasions to cooperate in the care, which did not prevent the Mental Disorders Review Board du Québec (CETM) to keep him free, subject to conditions.

The role of this commission is to make the least private decision for the patient while protecting the public, explains Dr Mathieu Dufour, a forensic psychiatrist at the Institut national de psychiatrie juridique Philippe-Pinel in Montreal, where Abdulla Shaikh was interned in 2018.

Psychiatric experts make recommendations to the court, which then rules on the person's release, also taking into account the objective of promoting social reintegration.

In an interview on Tout un matin, Dr. Marie-Frédérique Allard recognizes that we "escape" people in our system, because the rights and freedoms there are very strong. The psychiatrist nevertheless argues that recidivism rates are lower when patients are not placed in prison.

There were enough clues that indicated that he could remain in society, but with tight supervision, maintains for his part Me Legault, a lawyer who represented Abdulla Shaikh before the CETM to allow him to continue to live in freedom.

Many people who suffer from schizophrenia can live in society, he explains, as long as they are supervised, that we make sure they come to their appointments take their medication.

“Unfortunately there has been a slip-up with Mr Shaikh, I don't know how he has been developing over the last few weeks, unfortunately it is absolutely sad. »

— Me Legault, lawyer for Abdulla Shaikh

The lawyer also wonders about the police operation that led to the death of his client. Have all the measures been taken so that he can be arrested in a safe and dignified manner? Have we called in social workers, psychologists?, questions Me Legault, resting his hopes on the ongoing police investigation.

Abdulla Shaikh was already known to the police because of his psychiatric problems. In 2018, he was found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder in a Montreal mischief case. He was also awaiting trial in Laval for sexual assault and assault in a 2016 case.

Shot dead by the police, the suspect was hospitalized several times for seizures over the past four years, but showed stable behavior in recent months, also indicates the assessment of Dr. Vézina on which the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec relied for allow the schizophrenic to live in freedom.

The psychiatric report even mentions accommodations to encourage the patient to follow his treatment, despite his opposition.

“The patient being hermetic to the community follow-up offered, the latter was stopped. Follow-up was limited to appointments with the nurse for IM [sic] and regular physical and mental assessments. »

— Excerpt from the psychiatric report submitted to the CETM

Dr. Allard, however, refuses to place blame on the care team caring for the suspect. It's very heavy for a treating team to follow patients who have antisocial personalities and other delinquency problems, she says, we are overwhelmed by the number, sometimes the complexity of the situations.

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The collaboration of relatives who could alert the authorities of a deterioration in the patient's condition is not always easy. The family did not intervene for fear of reprisals when Abdulla Shaikh stopped his follow-ups at the pharmacy last summer, the psychiatric report also indicates.

Another question that the investigators will have to solve, that of the source and the obtaining of the weapon which would have allowed the suspect to kill Alex Crevier when the latter was walking on a skateboard on the boulevard Clermont, in the Laval-des-Rapides sector.

The previous night, he allegedly murdered two men aged 64 and 48 respectively, about an hour apart in the borough of Saint-Laurent and in that of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, in Montreal.

Constituency MP Mélanie Joly, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke of the recent tragedy to announce a temporary ban on the importation of handguns, effective August 19.

When Canadians are killed by gun violence, it's one too many, we can't be complacent, she said at a news conference.

I will intensify my actions to answer the call of my constituents in my riding, but also across Canada to do everything in my power, […] in my own portfolio, to combat gun violence.

The ban will remain in effect until the passage of Bill C-21 which will, according to Ottawa, establish a national freeze on the sale, transfer and possession of handguns across Canada.

With information from Pascal Robidas, by Geneviève Garon and Marie Isabelle Rochon

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