A registered psychologist treating RNC Cst. Joe Smyth says the officer should not have returned to operational duty so soon following the Donald Dunphy Inquiry.
Marina Hewlett was the last witness called by the defence at Smyth’s ongoing trial in St. John’s Provincial Court.
Marina Hewlett specializes in helping victims of trauma. She often works with police officers, for example, and told the court that most all of her clients would appear to be functioning members of society.
RNC Cst. Joe Smyth testified yesterday he returned to work following the conclusion of the Donald Dunphy Inquiry, before the final report was issued. He told the judge he felt going back to work would be good for him.
Today, however, his psychologist says he was not ready. Hewlett testified that every officer she has worked with felt they were ready to return to work before they actually were.
Without full trauma treatment following the inquiry, Hewlett says Smyth was likely in “protective mode.”
She says those who have had traumatic experiences become overwhelmed, sometimes without realizing it; sometimes overreacting.
Hewlett says Smyth had no healing time. She described him as hyper vigilant, and living in fear. She says a small trigger could have made Smyth feel unsafe.
On the stand this morning, Hewlett told the court this may be the reason why he caused an error on May 12, 2017, when it is said he wrote a traffic ticket for an offence that did not occur, allegedly obstructing justice.
Hewlett says Smyth may have been hyper focusing on one aspect of what was going on at the scene.
Hewlett is the last witness to take the stand. Closing arguments will be heard this afternoon.