WELLINGTON – A psychological assessment of former Malaysian embassy staff Muhammad Rizalman Ismail has revealed that he was diagnosed with â€œmixed depression and anxietyâ€.
The New Zealand Herald today reported that the New Zealand courts have released an expert report into Rizalmanâ€™s mental fitness, which showed that stress at work had led to negative assessments of him.
Last week, the-39-year-old had admitted to assaulting Tania Billingsley at her flat in May 2014, but had disputed aspects of the Crownâ€™s case against him.
The hearings on Friday had exposed that the accused admitted to smoking cannabis, and believed in black magic, which made the Crown question him if he had defecated outside Billingsleyâ€™s house to cast a love spell on her.
Rizalman had defended himself, saying that he suffered from diarrhoea and entered victimâ€™s house to clean himself up.
The court, however, maintained that the motive was sexual.
He did not admit to smoking the cannabis he bought and said at the time the offence occurred, he was suffering from stress due to work pressure.
During an interview with Rizalman last month by University of Aucklandâ€™s professor of psychiatry Prof Graham Mellsop, he said that a 2014 report by a Malaysian Army medical team contained negative things about him because it was â€œthe Malaysian wayâ€ to always â€œblame their underlingsâ€.
The report also found that urine tests showed positive use of cannabis and alcohol when he had claimed otherwise.
Prof Mellsopâ€™s report said that Rizalmanâ€™s major concern was that, there was an element of corruption by his superiors and he had to comply with it.
â€œHe said that it was immoral and did not want to comply but had to do so to obey the orders of superiors.â€
“He became ‘stressed’, developed headaches, the excessive sleepiness and the forgetfulness as described in his statement.”
Rizalman had also claimed that he did not resort to alcohol or drugs as it would have been wrong, being Muslim.
A conclusive opinion on Rizalmanâ€™s mental state, said Mellsop, was difficult to form as there werenâ€™t any â€œappropriately skilled psychiatric assessmentâ€ undertaken.
However, Mellsop said Rizalman has suffered from symptoms consistent with “a combination of anxiety and ingestion of cannabis or cannabinoid substances”.
“My opinion is that not only was he not suffering from a disease of the mind, but that he did know both nature and quality of his actions and that he was capable of considering their moral wrongfulness or rightfulness according to commonly accepted standards.”
During the hearings on Friday, Rizalmanâ€™s lawyer, Donald Stevens, questioned the Malaysian report and noted on how concerned Rizalmanâ€™s wife had been about his behaviour.
In mid-April 2014, Rizalman’s wife took him to another doctor at a medical centre in Johnsonville.
The doctor was told that Rizalman was stressed at work and was no longer playing football.
Dr Stevens who treated him said that he was sleeping excessively and well but was still feeling tired.
Rizalman had told him that not having any officers to assist him at his work in New Zealand made him stressed. – NST