Donald Grant, Aussie Psychiatrist, Under Fire for his book – “sensational rubbish” divulges personal patient info

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ABC.net.au
Queensland Health refers former psychiatrist to corruption watchdog over book on murderers
By Brittney Klein and Lexy Hamilton-Smith
June 14, 2018

Psychiatrist Donald Grant

Psychiatrist Donald Grant

Queensland Health has asked the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) to consider whether “potential corrupt conduct” was involved in the publication of a new book by former government psychiatrist Donald Grant on 10 murderers he examined.

At the behest of Queensland Health, the matter is also being investigated by the health ombudsman.

It comes after Sonia Anderson, the mother of murder victim Bianca Girven, accused Dr Grant of betraying victims of crime and breaching the confidence of his former employer in his book, Killer Instinct.

She confronted Dr Grant on Tuesday night at a launch of the book in Brisbane.

Speaking on Thursday, Ms Anderson renewed her call for Dr Grant’s book to be removed from stores.

She became emotional as she expressed sympathy for the families of the killers mentioned in the book.

She also said it was traumatic to read previously undisclosed details of her own daughter’s final moments alive.

“I’m not fighting just for me, I’m fighting for, not even just the victims’ families … I don’t think that someone who’s been mentally unwell should be exposed like this by a psychiatrist,” she said.

Dr Grant has not been employed by Queensland Health since 2013.

On Wednesday, a Queensland Health spokesperson admitted the book was a concern.

A day later, the department said its view on the matter had not changed.

“Following a request from Minister for Health Steven Miles, we referred the matter to the health ombudsman this morning,” a Queensland Health spokesperson said.

“We have also referred the matter to the CCC to consider any issues of potential corrupt conduct.”

In a statement released on Wednesday by his publisher, Dr Grant said he believed families deserved “insight into why their loved ones were killed”.

He said doctor-patient confidentiality was not broken because the interviews he completed were not for treatment purposes, but for “medico-legal” assessments made available to the courts.

In an author’s note in the book, Dr Grant wrote: “When I provide court reports, I am obliged to work within the code of conduct for expert witnesses, which stipulates that my responsibilities are to the court rather than to any of the separate parties.

“Whether the request comes from the prosecution, the defence or the court itself, I strive at all times to ensure my reports are impartial and independent.”

Dr Grant has also said a proportion of his profits would be donated to help support victims’ families to access information from trials and judgments.

Debbie Kilroy from prisoner advocacy group Sisters Inside also fired stinging criticism at Dr Grant’s book, calling it “sensational rubbish”.

Ms Kilroy said the families of several killers mentioned in the book had told her they were distressed by what they read in the book.

“He’s a psychiatrist, we are supposed to trust psychiatrists and we are supposed to trust psychiatrists to keep confidentiality.”

The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists said it was “currently reviewing the matter internally”.

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Donald Grant