Former Queensland Health psychiatrist Donald Grant’s book mentions details about the killing of Bianca Girven never made public. (ABC Conversations: Nicola Harrison)
Former Queensland Government psychiatrist Donald Grant has been accused of betraying victims of crime and breaching the confidence of his employer in his newly released book on murderers and other offenders he assessed during his time on the state payroll.
Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates said Dr Grant should not be allowed to keep profits from the book and a Queensland Health spokesperson has admitted staff in the department were “incredibly distressed” about the matter and looking into it.
Dr Grant was appointed by the Mental Health Court of Queensland to provide an independent report to the courts on killer Rhys Austin.
In 2014, the Queensland Court of Appeal upheld a Mental Health Court decision that Austin would not stand trial for the murder of his girlfriend Bianca Girven as he was of unsound mind.
In his book, Killer Instinct, Dr Grant has released previously unpublicised details of the case — including Ms Girven’s supposed last words before her death.
Ms Girven’s mother Sonia Anderson is calling for Dr Grant’s book to be pulled from the shelves, telling the ABC “he sensationalised and entertained murder”.
Ms Bates supported the call, asking how someone who was employed by Queensland Health could be allowed to release information that was never known to the families of the victims.
“No mother should learn about the last words of their daughter — after she was choked to death — through a book, that she wasn’t even consulted about,” she said.
“I am absolutely shocked and appalled that Sonia has had to relive this trauma all over again.”
The ABC understands Dr Grant has not been employed by Queensland Health since 2013.
A Queensland Health spokesperson admitted the matter was a concern.
“We can’t underestimate how serious an issue this appears to be,” the spokesperson said.
“On its surface it looks like a betrayal of patients, victims and their families and the clinician’s duty to do the right thing professionally.
“We are incredibly distressed and are looking into the matter further.”
Ms Bates called on Health Minister Steven Miles to apologise to Ms Anderson.
Sonia Anderson said it was traumatising to see unknown details of her daughter’s death in print. (ABC News)
“We also should stop the profits of this book going to the author,” Ms Bates said.
“We need to be ensuring that we are looking after the real victims in this scenario — the families of those have been killed.”
Ms Bates said Mr Miles should also explain to Ms Anderson how it came about and what will be done to ensure it never happened again.
“The minister also needs to guarantee to Sonia and the people of Queensland that the perpetrator in Bianca’s murder will not harm anyone else if he is released back into the community,” she said.
Ms Anderson said it was a traumatising experience reading the account of Bianca’s last moments.
“He’s put in there an enormous amount of information that’s never been in the public realm nor was I ever allowed to know,” she said.
“This included Bianca’s last words when she was told that she was going to die and before he strangled her for ten minutes.
In a statement released on Wednesday by his publisher, Dr Grant said he believed families deserved “insight into why their loved ones were killed.”
“Families of victims should have access to expert reports,” he said.
“I wrote this book because as a forensic psychiatrist, my life’s work has been to increase our understanding of why violence and murder happens.”
Ms Anderson confronted Dr Grant at a book event in Brisbane on Tuesday night.
He said a proportion of his profits would be donated to help support victims’ families to access information from trials and judgments.
Health Minister Steven Miles’ office has been contacted for comment.