A French psychiatrist has been found guilty of manslaughter after one of her patients hacked an elderly man to death, in a landmark ruling that could have a major impact on the care of mentally ill patients in France.
Danielle Canarelli, 58, a doctor with 30 years of experience who is based in Marseille, was given a one-year suspended prison sentence because judges said she had committed the “grave error” of failing to recognize the public danger posed by her patient, Joel Gaillard.
Gaillard, 43, who is now said to suffer from a kind of paranoid schizophrenia, had been treated by Canarelli between 2000 and 2004.
In February 2004, he escaped during a hospital consultation with her. He went to Gap, in the Alps region, and 20 days later used an axe to kill his grandmother’s partner, Germain Trabuc, 83. Gaillard reportedly thought that his inheritance was threatened by Trabuc.
Gaillard fled the scene of the crime, but was later hurt as he tried to break into a building, after which he went to a hospital to be treated. Police arrested him there.
Trabuc’s son decided to take legal action against the psychiatrist after Gaillard was found criminally irresponsible for his actions because of his mental health.
In their ruling against the psychiatrist, the judges said Canarelli had failed to properly evaluate the danger posed by her patient, who had been forcibly committed to a secure hospital on several occasions for a series of increasingly dangerous incidents, including a knife attack, arson and an attempted murder.
The court said Canarelli should have requested Gaillard be placed in a specialized medical unit, as one of her colleagues had suggested. Her refusal had amounted to a form of “blindness,” court president Fabrice Castoldi said, but stressed: “We are not judging psychiatrists or the psychiatric profession, but a particular case.”
Defense lawyers said the ruling would have serious repercussions for the treatment of the mentally ill.
“If a psychiatrist lives in fear of being sentenced, it will have very real consequences and probably lead to harsher treatment of patients,” said Sylvain Pontier, Canarelli’s lawyer.
SPEP, the union for French state psychiatrists, said the verdict risked scapegoating the profession over a complex case. The union said Canarelli had notified police after her patient’s escape.
Psychiatric medical staff protested outside court during the trial with banners, one of which read: “Dark day for psychiatry.”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big