Therapist is blamed for patient's crime


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The Independent Online

A French psychiatrist has been convicted of manslaughter after her patient murdered an elderly man.

Daniele Canarelli, who had been based at the Edouard-Toulouse hospital in Marseille, was handed a one-year suspended prison sentence yesterday after she failed to recognise the danger her patient, Joel Gaillard, posed to the public.

The conviction is said to be the first of its kind in France. "If a psychiatrist lives in fear of being sentenced, it will have very real consequences and probably lead to harsher treatment of patients," Ms Canarelli's lawyer, Sylvain Pontier, said.

Mr Gaillard, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, killed the man after he fled from a consultation with Ms Canarelli in 2004. The court said Ms Canarelli had committed a "grave error" in not asking for Mr Gaillard to be put in a specialist medical unit.

He is in a psychiatric hospital, after being found criminally irresponsible for his actions.