Psychiatrists 'disagree over mental state' of dad who killed son

Julius Czapla was found dead at his dad's flat in Edinburgh in November 2020.

Leading psychiatrists ‘disagree over mental state’ of father who killed son Police Scotland

Two senior consultant psychiatrists are in conflict over the mental state of a man who admitted to killing his two-year-old son, a court has heard.

Dr Khuram Khan assessed Lukasz Czapla after his son Julius was found dead at his flat in Muirhouse in Edinburgh in November 2020.

After multiple interviews, the psychiatrist said the 41-year-old has or had Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD), a condition that causes intense fluctuations of emotions among other symptoms including depression and impulsivity.

Earlier, psychiatrist Dr Alexander Quinn, who also assessed Czapla after the death of his son, agreed Czapla had a “depressive illness”, but that it “was not severe” and dismissed the EUPD diagnosis.

The court has previously been told Czapla, a former IT technician, had been struggling with depression, which intensified after his seven-year relationship with his former partner Patrycja Szczesniak ended just months before Julius was killed.

At a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday, Alan Cameron, prosecuting, put some of Dr Quinn’s comments about Czapla to Dr Khan in which he said there was “an absence of indicators that you might see in EUPD, and spoke of his time in prison and said he did not present as someone with EUDP.”

Dr Khan, before a 15-strong jury, defended his diagnosis of the accused.

A statement of his was read out in court which said: “In my view, his (Czapla) long-standing complaint about depression symptoms should be seen within the context of EUPD.

“Patients with EUPD can present symptoms of depression such as low mood, anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure) and irritability.

“They have difficulty in managing or regulating emotions and are often described as having low mood lability.”

His went on to say: “Therefore, my view is different from Dr Quinn’s formulation in relation to the primary diagnosis.

“I believe that Mr Czapla does not/did not have frank major depressive disorder, rather his depressive symptoms are or were secondary to the EUPD.”

Previous evidence has heard Czapla took an overdose of his anti-depressant medication and drank wine and beer on the night his son was killed, with the intention of taking his own life.

Dr Khan, in an initial report, said he believed the accused’s level of intoxication played a more substantial role to Czapla’s mental state in the killing of his son.

But after further assessment, Dr Khan said, on the balance of probabilities, he believed EUPD played a “significant major role in the criminal act than what I previously thought.”

He said he was not in a position to confidently conclude whether diminished responsibility at the time of Julius’s death can be used in Czapla’s defence, and said this was ultimately a decision for the jury.

Iain McSporran QC, defending, had no cross-examination questions for Dr Khan.

Czapla denies murdering the toddler in his home in November 2020.

He previously offered to plead guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide, but this was rejected by the Crown.

The trial, before Lord Beckett, continues.

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