Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mental health watchdog blames psychiatrist for killer policeman released on bail

Garry Weddell

Court transcripts made available by the Ministry of Justice in the Garry Weddell case have revealed the fatal errors made by a psychiatrist who advised a Judge on Weddell’s mental status, which allowed Weddell to be released on bail to kill.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Tony Nayani told Judge John Bevan QC his findings after speaking to Weddell. In the court transcript, Dr Nayani was recorded as having said, “I didn’t have any concerns about his [Weddell’s] mental condition. He doesn’t need a psychiatrist examining him regularly. He’s stable as far as I’m concerned.”

Weddell was then released after a £200,000 bond was put up by his barrister brother. The opinion that he was ‘stable’ was torn to shreds after the murder of his mother-in-law, Traute Maxfield. After shooting her dead, he turned the gun on himself.

Left: Garry Weddell's wife, Sandra Weddell. Right: Garry Weddell's mother-in-law, Traute Maxfield.

While the focus of the case has been on Judge John Bevan QC for granting bail to Weddell, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an international mental health watchdog has highlighted that Judge Bevan’s decision relied heavily upon and was made following Dr Nayani’s court testimony and psychiatric report.

Dr Nayani is the most recent psychiatrist to make the headlines for his failures. A string of psychiatrists have been slammed for a catalogue of errors, exposing the lack of science to support psychiatric assessments that are submitted as scientific but which have been criticised following tragic outcomes.

In December 2006, a report condemned the treatment of John Barrett who murdered Denis Finnegan. Decisions made by Barrett’s consultant psychiatrist Dr Gill Mezey were described by the inquiry as “seriously flawed.”

And in January 2007, Vivian Gamor murdered her children after being released from Homerton Hospital in East London. Gamor had been released after psychiatrists concluded she did not pose a risk to herself or others.

Brian Daniels, national spokesperson for CCHR in the UK said, “This latest case highlights an assault on the justice system, where a psychiatrist has asserted his so-called expertise, when in fact, all he has done is provide an entirely unscientific opinion about someone.

“This also highlights the issue of accountability. Dr Nayani’s testimony appears to be have been instrumental in obtaining bail with fatal consequences. There will be the usual psychiatric justifications, but the bottom line is he should be held accountable to bring about a climate where psychiatrists think twice about submitting erroneous opinions into courts of law.”

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights.

For more information, contact:

Brian Daniels
P.O. Box 188
East Grinstead
West Sussex
RH19 4RB

Tel: 01342 313 926 / 07980 934 984


Kirsteen said...

So what you are saying is these so called doctors can go around pretending to be scientific and giving opinions on which lives depend and they have no idea if someone is safe to let loose on the community or not! That is terrifying. I really hope judges start to think twice before trusting a psychiatrist for everyone’s safety.
Mrs Kirsteen Benson

Anonymous said...

dr nayani is an experienced proffesional. What happened to him could happen to anyone. Should a 15 year career be ruined by 1 incident being blamed on him?

Mr Huntelaar

johnalexwood said...

The point here is that psychiatry's ability to predict dangerousness is about as scientific and as accurate as reading tea leaves.