Sex abuse, PTSD, could have triggered hammer attack, jury told

Sexual abuse Toby Land endured as a child likely triggered post traumatic stress disorder the night he went after Dominic Doyon with a hammer, a forensic psychiatrist told a jury during Land’s second-degree murder trial on Wednesday.

“…He certainly had anger towards the deceased,” said Dr. Julian Gojer. “He perceived him to be a child abuser.”

Alcohol consumed by Land served as a disinhibitor when Doyon was killed on May 4, 2009 in his Lowertown apartment where he was letting Land and Carl St. Cyr stay.

Doyon was beaten with a hammer and aluminum crutches, then stabbed with a samurai sword.

The “frenzied” attack was “driven by very intense emotions,” said Gojer.

On Tuesday, St. Cyr – who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Doyon’s death – told the jury he stabbed Doyon.

Land has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

The night Doyon was killed, Land had been drinking.

But seeing Doyon with a topless 14-year-old girl that night set Land off, Gojer said, even before alcohol was consumed.

A seething Land asked the girl to leave.

Anger directed at the girl was “more like that of a parent,” said Gojer.

Land confronted Doyon, exchanging angry words, the jury heard.

Land was more likely to react because of the disinhibition, said Gojer, “so you can’t control your emotions.”

Land told Gojer he was scared and grabbed a hammer to protect himself.

The jury heard Land has subtle brain damage, possibly from fetal alcohol syndrome – although his mother said she didn’t drink while pregnant.

Another factor is hitting his head between the age of 18 months to two-years-old when his mother fell on him after being struck by his father.

Still, “it’s not brain damage alone that accounts for this man’s behaviour,” said Gojer.

In addition, he said, Land was dependent on alcohol, abused cannabis, and showed anti-social traits.

Gojer said Land told him he had a history of being sexually assaulted by a family member.

Land’s mother and files from the Children’s Aid Society confirmed the allegations.

But Land, then 13 or 14, never discussed his emotions with a counsellor.

“Males are much more reluctant than females to talk about their abuse,” said Gojer.

During the “volcanic” attack, “it’s not that he didn’t know he was hitting Mr. Doyon,” said Gojer.

The issue is whether Land had the state of mind to commit murder and if he realized Doyon would likely die from injuries inflicted, said Gojer.

“I can only talk about the factors. The truth is for the court to decide,” said Gojer.

The trial continues Thursday.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/10/31/sex-abuse-ptsd-could-have-triggered-hammer-attack-jury-told

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