Friday, September 19, 1997

Phinjo Gombu

Psychiatric profile on Jane Doe called cruel

Victim's MD slams report done for police

A psychiatric profile prepared for Metro police of rape victim Jane Doe is inaccurate, unprofessional, biased and cruel, a court has heard. The report says her lawsuit is based on delusion rather than police behavior, court heard.

"There is absolutely no evidence," Dr. Vincent DeMarco, a psychiatrist at St. Joseph's Health Centre, testified yesterday during Doe's $1.2 million lawsuit against Metro police. "I'm trying to put it in polite English," DeMarco said, pausing for a moment. "This report is extremely skewed and dangerous."

DeMarco, who has seen Doe as a patient since 1985, about a year before her Aug. 24, 1986 rape at the hands of the so-called "balcony rapist" in the Church and Wellesley Sts. neighbourhood was called to the stand yesterday by Doe's lawyer Sean Dewart.

Since both sides in a suit make their evidence available in advance of the hearing, DeMarco has read the police report, which has not yet been introduced in court.

Expected to testify

It was done in anticipation of the report -- to be introduced at the trial by Metro police lawyer Bryan Finlay -- and prepared by Dr. Graham Glancy of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. It says Doe suffers from a "mixed-personality disorder."

Glancy is expected to testify after the police defence against the lawsuit begins Monday.

Doe says police were negligent in not warning her about a serial rapist who had assaulted four women in her downtown neighbourhood during 1986. She says the force's systemic, gender-based discrimination contributed to that decision.

Paul Douglas Callow pleaded guilty to Doe's rape and those of four other women in the area and is serving a 20-year prison term.

The report said Doe, who was already suffering from depression before the rape, is paranoid, narcissistic and prone to histrionics, court heard. "There is no evidence for any of that," DeMarco said. The psychiatrist lashed out at what he called an "adversarial" report saying that he, who had seen Doe for more than a decade on a clinical basis, was better suited than someone who had only interviewed Doe for a couple of hours.

He took particular offence at one such notion in the report, which says Jane Doe's strong commitment to social activism and perseverance with the lawsuit constitutes a form of deviant behaviour . "Any behaviour can be looked at narrowly and pathologically ," DeMarco said. "You can take Mother Teresa and diagnose her as a complete deviant."

Testing uncommon

He testified that Jane Doe was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder and "very serious" post traumatic stress disorder after the rape, and will be on medication for the rest of her life.

Doe's activism with women's groups, putting up posters in the neighbourhood warning about the serial rapist and deputations to the police, were part of her attempt to "stream the anger," he said.

DeMarco said Doe was showing signs of improving before the attack, then rapidly went downhill. "The anger will never subside," DeMarco said, adding that her trust in public institution and caution in relationships with men is forever damaged.

In cross-examination, police lawyer Greg Richards introduced evidence that diagnoses such as the one made by Glancy on Doe can "sometimes" be done with a single assessment. DeMarco responded by saying it was something he would never do.

He said Glancy's "psychometric testing" was uncommon and especially inappropriate for the diagnosis of a personality disorder, which requires a detailed understanding of a person's history. Asked be Richards if he still had detailed notes of Doe's visits to him over the years, DeMarco said he had thrown them away because he never keeps any sensitive patient records for more than 10 years. The trial continues.

"Balcony Rapist" case... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: March 6, 1999
Last modified: March 8, 1999

J.D. Jane Doe, c/o Walnet Institute
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710