It’s difficult to determine how drugs and mental illness affected the behaviour of a man accused of fatally stabbing a teenager, a forensic psychiatrist told a B.C. Supreme Court trial on Tuesday.
“I just don’t know what combination of head injury, mental illness or substance abuse may have been [there],” said Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe, a defence expert at Cory Daniel Barry’s second-degree murder trial.
Alone or together, those elements could have affected Barry’s capacity to comprehend committing a crime, he said, adding that substance abuse can be difficult to assess in a crime scenario.
“It’s a complex relationship between substance abuse and violence.”
Barry, 41, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder. He is alleged to have stabbed 15-year-old Victoria High School student Justin Wendland on June 3, 2010, at a bus stop in front of the Times Colonist building.
The Crown contends that Barry discarded a pair of knives as he made his way to the Victoria Police Department on Caledonia Avenue. He was arrested soon afterward for aggravated assault, a charge that was changed to murder after Wendland died.
Lohrasbe recounted two one-on-one meetings with Barry, saying he went from one extreme to another in their conversations.
“There were times when he was very coherent and came across to me as a con man,” he testified.
At other times, Barry was confusing and contradictory. His demeanour also changed during the interviews, ranging from quiet and withdrawn to crying uncontrollably.
“I am unable to come to a firm opinion as to Mr. Barry’s mental state at the time of the offence,” Lohrasbe said.
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