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Medical expert says William Ian Rivers faking mental illness

Days before the expected end of the William Ian Rivers murder trial, the question remains, was he in his right mind when he shot Mark “Hubba” Seymour.

Did he have a history of mental illness that diminished his responsibility for the crime, or does he have a personality disorder, a less severe mental condition, that does not impair judgement.

For most of the week Mr. Rivers’ defense team presented medical testimony from two experts, Dr. Omo Tayo Bernard and Dr. Ali Ajaz.

Both have said that the murder accused was exhibiting psychotic symptoms at the time of the shooting outside Super C’s Resturant and in its immediate aftermath.

On Wednesday (12 September,) Dr. Ajaz affirmed his position under questioning by the Crown, that he believed Mr. Rivers was exhibiting symptoms of serious mental illness.

Dr. Ajaz also said inconsistencies in Mr. Rivers behaviour could be explained by the fact that Mr. Rivers particular condition “waxes and wanes.”

Prosecutor Cheryll Richards QC, asked Dr. Ajaz, given all the evidence presented in the matter so far, if he was likely to change his original opinion on Mr. Rivers mental health. He said “No.”

The Crown then presented its own rebuttal medical witness, Dr. Wayne Myers, who examined Mr. Rivers several times in the days after the shooting.

According to Dr. Meyers, Mr. Rivers presented exaggerated symptoms of auditory hallucinations in his presence, leading him to believe that he was faking or malingering.

Dr. Meyers said Mr. Rivers spoke to his hallucinations asking him several times “if he heard it?”

Dr. Meyers said from his experience the truly psychotic would not do this.

During a defense re-direct, Dr. Ajaz said testing used to determine malingering should be used with caution and only when other factors are ruled out.

About the author

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs has worked in television, radio and print since 2002, including stints at Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT/CNMG), Radio 97, The Trinidad Guardian and Newsday. She has an MA in Media, Communications and Public Relations.

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