Choosing to rely on someone else’s notes, a forensic psychiatrist did not delve into Blake Schreiner’s supernatural-themed journals before ruling out a diagnosis on the schizophrenia spectrum.
Dr. Olajide Adelugba was the psychiatrist on a Saskatchewan Hospital assessment team who undertook an analysis of the accused in the spring of 2019. Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Brad Mitchell, Adelugba was asked about various topics the psychiatrist left unexplored.
The defence suggested multiple significant issues may have been missed that could have changed Schreiner’s diagnosis.
“We didn’t discuss his journal entries, but we discussed his thoughts,” said Adelugba.
Schreiner, 39, is on trial for first-degree murder in the Jan. 2019 killing of his partner, Tammy Brown. Schreiner admits to fatally stabbing her, but the outcome of the trial hinges on whether or not Justice Ron Mills finds him not criminally responsible (NCR) for the act.
Adelugba authored a report concluding Schreiner understood the outcome of his actions and knew that what he did was wrong. Another forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Mansfield Mela, previously testified Schreiner didn’t know it was wrong to kill his partner because he had schizotypal personality disorder.
Schizotypal personality disorder is a condition on the schizophrenia spectrum.
According to the Criminal Code of Canada, a person is NCR if they were suffering a mental disorder at the time of a crime, and the disorder rendered them “incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act … or of knowing that it was wrong.”
The journals include mentions of dragons, serpents and demons. At one point, Schreiner lists people who could potentially be his disciples. Adelugba’s lone reference to them was based on findings from the assessment team’s social worker.
Given the entries in court, Adelugba said the writings “go beyond a personality disorder” and are more likely the result of Schreiner’s history of substance abuse, including cannabis and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Asked if they could be signs of schizophrenia, the psychiatrist said they could be.
Adelugba diagnosed Schreiner with alcohol use disorder, cannabis use disorder, alcohol-induced mood disorder, generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks and depression with prominent anxiety symptoms.
The defence also questioned Adelugba about strained staffing levels at Saskatchewan Hospital in March 2019, and whether 18 days was enough time to complete an NCR assessment.
“We had enough information to answer the question and we did,” Adelugba said.
While the psychiatrist said there were no shortcuts in the analysis, Mitchell highlighted multiple pages that were copied and pasted from other assessment team members’ submissions. One line included an accused’s name that wasn’t Schreiner’s.
“This suggests you used a precedent or someone else’s previous document,” Mitchell said.
Adelugba replied: “this was a typo. It only affected the first line.”
The defence lawyer told Adelugba there are multiple instances where he took other team members’ findings and didn’t independently verify them.
Mitchell said the psychiatrist also didn’t mention Schreiner’s statements about his mind racing with thoughts before he killed Tammy, or that a voice in his head told him “the kids.”
Hearing voices is more likely to be associated with drug abuse than schizotypal personality disorder, Adelugba said.
Schreiner gave psychiatrists two different accounts regarding his mushroom use. In one version, he claimed to have used them a few hours before the killing. In the other, he hadn’t used any for six weeks prior to the death.
Testimony is scheduled to conclude Friday — the second anniversary of Tammy’s death.