Friday, June 13, 2014

Conviction in Irish Lariam case

An Irish private has been convicted in a sexual assault court-martial in which he claimed that side-effects from his use of the drug Lariam was to blame. According to this report in the Irish Times,
The defendant who cannot be identified by direction of the court martial judge Col Michael Campion, was also convicted on two counts of behaviour prejudicial to good order and discipline in the defence forces.
The verdicts were brought in by a four-member military board which had heard evidence in the case over eight days. The judge said the defendant will be sentenced after a presentence hearing which he set for Thursday next, June 19.
An earlier report summarized a damaging bit of impeachment of the defense's expert:
Dr [Ashley] Croft has previously told the court the effects of Lariam were powerfully “toxic” on some people, a subset of whom could become psychotic.
But yesterday counsel for the Office of Military Director of Public Prosecutions Cmdt Fintan McCarthy put it to Dr Croft he had given contradictory evidence to a military court martial in Britain in 1996.
Cmdt McCarthy said Dr Croft had appeared for the prosecution in that case and argued Lariam’s toxicity was “mild to moderate”. He also put it to Dr Croft he had told the British court martial there was no adverse pharmacological link between mefloquine – the generic name for Lariam – and the use of alcohol.
Dr Croft acknowledged changing his position on the drug, saying science evolved.
Judge Campion has asked the prosecutor to determine whether the assault victim, who is also a member of the service, wishes to have the defendant's name made public. The assault consisted of rubbing the victim's buttock while she was in bed.

Editor's query: It is unclear why, as a matter of policy, the victim should determine whether the accused's name is made public. A criminal trial is the public's business, not a civil action between two private parties who might agree to keep a dispute anonymous. 

1 comment:

  1. This is of further interest because:

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces heard oral argument in United States v. MacDonald, No. 14-0001/AR, on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Appellant was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for, among other things, the premeditated murder of a fellow soldier by repeatedly stabbing him with a knife while he slept. In a prior comment on CAAFLog a colleague characterized the case as "CAAF to explore the bounds of possible drug induced psychosis." At trial he claimed that the drug Chantix affected him at the time of the offense, partly evidenced by, “the FDA issued an “Alert” about Chantix addressing concern of an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms including “changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and attempted and completed suicide.” A decision is likely later this month.

    It would be interesting to know whether such defenses based on drug induced behavior or what might seem drug induced behavior are being made in other systems.


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