Exorcism case: Plaintiff capable of ‘overt deception’
A psychiatrist on Monday portrayed the woman in the centre of the Novena Church ‘exorcism’ case as being capable of ‘overt deception’ to perpetuate her ‘symptoms’ for financial gain.
Dr Lim Yun Chin’s assessment of Madam Amutha Valli Krishnan therefore flew in the face of the diagnosis given by her two doctors, who said she had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
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Dr Lim, from Raffles Hospital, was testifying for Father Simon Tan, one of the defendants sued by Madam Valli, 52. She claims two priests and six churchgoers forced an exorcism on her at the church in August 2004, an experience which left her traumatised.
Her two doctors, Dr Ong Thiew Chai from Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Dr Angelina Chan from Changi General Hospital, both told the court that she developed PTSD with depression as a result of the incident.
But Dr Lim, a past president of the Singapore Psychiatric Association, said he did not support their diagnosis. He said that Madam Amutha may have suffered trauma, but it did not justify a diagnosis of PTSD, a serious psychiatric disorder.
He told the court that while PTSD sufferers often show a marked unwillingness to re-live their trauma, Madam Valli kept steering their conversations back to her experience in the church.
He said it was ‘unfortunate’ that her family did not disclose her voluminous psychiatric history to Dr Ong and Dr Chan, because a person’s psychiatric history is relevant – and more so for PTSD – to rule out malingering.