Disorders plague court psychiatrists, judge concludes | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

Disorders plague court psychiatrists, judge concludes [Excerpts]

'Name-calling' racks 'dysfunctional' office

Name-calling, factions and conspiracies are common in the "dysfunctional" office of more than a dozen psychiatrists who analyze criminals for the courts, an Edmonton judge has found.

In a 55-page decision released Friday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Erik Lefsrud ruled that allegations of defamation in the department were unfounded, but the department was plagued by infighting and lack of leadership.

"What emerged is a picture of a very dysfunctional working environment in which name-calling, finger-pointing, intransigence and conspiratorial workings have thwarted the best intentions of all the psychiatrists involved," he wrote.

"How such a group of obviously intelligent professionals could work themselves into such a state is beyond comprehension.

"This litigation served largely as a forum for a litany of complaints ... including complaints of discrimination, intimidation, harassment, mismanagement and lack of effective leadership." The psychiatrists, who work at the Forensic Assessment and Community Services (FACS) outpatient clinic at Alberta Hospital, are highly trained medical doctors who have spent years studying psychiatry.

They regularly write psychological assessments of criminals that are instrumental to the justice system. Lawyers often rely on them in making their arguments before judges, and judges cite their reports in sentencing decisions.

In testimony and letters, doctors in the department told of "politics of intimidation," "gossip and innuendo," as well as "personal attacks" and power struggles.