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Canada Ontario man refused to accept he was mentally ill, but six lawyers later is found not responsible for killing grandmother

19:05  16 november  2019
19:05  16 november  2019 Source:   nationalpost.com

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I accept that he likely came to believe that he had to kill his grandmother in order to save his life. A judge answered the question this week, ruling that Mossaddad Five other lawyers had been fired before him because they had merely raised the possibility of a mental -health defence with Mossaddad.

“They admit that they were beating him , kicking him , they made him drink toilet water, and then obviously the video where they’ re cutting a piece Police did not name the victim in the case; they said he is with his parents and expected to recover from his injuries. The four people charged Thursday

a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table: Did the accused's fake story show that he knew the murder was morally wrong, and therefore he could be convicted as a criminal and sent to prison? © National Post file Did the accused's fake story show that he knew the murder was morally wrong, and therefore he could be convicted as a criminal and sent to prison?

Cameron Mossaddad showed up at a Toronto-area hospital four years ago with a cut that needed stitches, bruises and a strange story.

He said he had been attacked with a steak knife by his 70-year-old grandmother, forcing him into a life-and-death struggle that ended when he strangled the woman with his legs.

Police eventually dismissed the tale as a fabrication and charged Mossaddad, then 23, with first-degree murder.

But as evidence emerged that he suffered from psychotic delusions in which his grandma was part of a plot by the Illuminati to assassinate him, the fake story raised an interesting question: Did it show that he knew the murder was morally wrong, and therefore he could be convicted as a criminal and sent to prison?

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A judge answered the question this week, ruling that Mossaddad was not criminally responsible for the slaying of Herma Parkes because of mental illness. Mossaddad actually believed the cold-blooded murder was warranted, and made up the self-defence story so the police wouldn’t think he was “crazy,” concluded Justice Joseph DiLuca.

The case underlines the complexity of the “NCR” defence, and how the sickest defendants may be most at risk of being sent to prison, rather than a psychiatric hospital, said Dan Brodsky, his lawyer.

Five other lawyers had been fired before him because they had merely raised the possibility of a mental-health defence with Mossaddad.

“He is a paradox,” said Brodsky in an interview Friday. “The more significant a person’s mental disorder, the more likely it is for that same person to say ‘I don’t want anybody to think there’s anything wrong with me. I did what I had to do’ … The chances of a miscarriage of justice increase the sicker your client is.”

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The case had “quite a history,” with two trials just to determine Mossaddad’s mental fitness, said Brian McCallion, the Crown prosecutor.

“He was very, very resistant to any idea that he suffered from a mental illness,” said McCallion. “I gather that every time a previous lawyer said to Mr. Mossaddad, ‘Look you need to be assessed, you need to explore this option,’ bang, out the door the lawyer went.”

The tale began early the morning of May 23, 2105 when he arrived at McKenzie Health Centre in Richmond Hill, Ont., with a number of superficial cuts, bruises and an open wound that needed suturing.

He told hospital staff and then the police that he was staying at his grandmother’s apartment and got into a scuffle with her when she complained about noise from the television, called him a “devil” and went after him with the knife.

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It soon became clear the story was bogus — the injuries were found to be self-inflicted — and officers charged him with murder. They also found he had done internet searches with terms such as “signs of foul play” and “cops strangulation death.”

Only later did it become clear the killing was part of a complex web of delusions, which psychiatrist Dr. Misha Hartfeil told court was likely caused by schizophrenia.

Signs of mental illness began to develop around age 19, and he eventually came to believe his grandmother wanted to poison him. After discovering from a DNA test that he was partly Jewish, he became convinced he was a member of the Rothschild dynasty. And he believed the Illuminati — an 18 th century secret society that is the subject of various conspiracy theories today — was determined to kill him and had co-opted his grandmother to do the job.

He felt that news reports, graffiti and music were sending him messages about the plot, said the judge.

But it was not until January 2018 that his psychiatric issues came to a head in court. At one point he requested Brodsky release Crown evidence to the National Post and other media outlets, then asked to be tried in absentia. McCallion suggested he be assessed, after which the jury found him mentally unfit to stand trial.

He came back after a year of treatment and was deemed fit to face trial. The issue became whether he knew the killing was morally wrong. Hartfeil, a forensic psychiatrist at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, testified Mossaddad clearly did not understand that killing Parkes was wrong.

“I accept that he likely came to believe that he had to kill his grandmother in order to save his life,” the judge ruled. “He viewed his conduct as morally acceptable based on the nature of his delusional beliefs.”

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