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Psychiatrist disputes claim Hood’s ability to judge impaired

PICTOU – Evidence heard at the Carolyn Amy Hood trial ended Thursday with a Crown witness saying the school teacher knew what she was doing was morally wrong.

Dr. Risk Kronfli, a forensic psychiatrist with the East Coast Forensic Hospital, said he was not disputing other diagnoses that Hood suffers from bipolar disease type one or that she’d had a manic episode.

However, the episode, in his opinion, was not severe and didn't impair her moral judgment or sense of wrongfulness.

“She had the capacity to appreciate, know the wrongfulness of her actions, consequences of her actions and nature and quality of her actions from a psychiatrist’s point of view. She appreciated the moral and ethical consequences of her actions.”

Kronfli said she was in an unhappy marriage and found relief from her situation by texting teenage boys. He said this enjoyment motivated her to do it.

“She was not happy and this was giving her enjoyment,” he said, adding that a lot of her text messages spoke of how unhappy she was in her “shitty” life. He said she clearly shows enjoyment and excitement when she started texting. 

Hood, 39, has admitted to four of the six charges that include two counts of luring, one of sexual interference and one of sexual exploitation of a young person. The charges were laid in relation to alleged offences involving minors in 2013. She was teaching Grade 6 at Thorburn Consolidated at the time when it was a primary to Grade 9 school. The defence is arguing Hood was not criminally responsible at the time because of a mental disorder.

There is a publication ban that protects the identities of the victims.

Kronfli said he reviewed extensive psychiatric reports on Hood, all of the text messages, police reports and conducted his own personal interview with her. 

He said he believes the level of the psychological disorder Hood suffered from at the time of the events led to changes, but the level was not severe enough to impair her judgment to the point that she didn’t know what she was doing was wrong, either legally or morally.

The doctor said people in severe manic episodes have no sense of right or wrong, they are on a high and can’t specifically pinpoint just one behaviour as morally wrong.  

The text messages sent to her former students show that she wanted to keep their relationship quiet so no one else would find out, he said.  If she was in a severe manic episode, she wouldn’t care if others knew.  

He also stated she was selective about who she wanted to be with, turning down one boy who asked for pictures because he was a “big mouth and couldn’t be trusted” or men her own age who were hitting on her at the time.

Kronfli said she displayed symptoms of manic episode but some of these can be explained as well. For example, he said, there are reports that she was active throughout her life and was trying to lose weight and watch what she ate.

Others had reported lack of sleep as a sign of her poor mental health, but Kronfli said she texted others about being exhausted and wanting to take naps. He said someone in a severe manic state would not even realize they were tired.

“Several of my esteemed colleagues have said it was severe manic episode from February to September. It is impossible for a manic episode to last for eight months. The person would be dead from lack of sleep, increased energy and their heart would be stopped.”

Hood will return to Pictou provincial court Dec. 18 to hear final arguments by the Crown and defence. Judge Del Atwood will reserve his decision on the case and a date will be set for the verdict.

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