Australia, May 25, 2001 – A Supreme Court Justice in an Australian courtroom ruled that Zoloft was the cause for David John Hawkins strangling his wife of nearly 50 years. So strong was his statement that it led to headlines like this across the country:
"Court finds drug made man kill wife" "Drug led to murder: judge" "Drug turned loving man into a killer, says judge" "Pills drove husband to murder" "Drug blamed for wife's death"
Justice O'Keefe stated in his ruling:
"It can be seen that the medical evidence strongly supports a conclusion that but for the effect of the 250mg of Zoloft he had taken, it is wholly unlikely that the prisoner would have committed the crime to which he had pleaded guilty."
Karen Barth, of Baum Hedlund et al, one of the attorneys who represented the family of Brynn and Phil Hartman and currently representing the surviving family of a prominent Cerritos, California businessman and politician who committed suicide while taking Zoloft (Motus v. Pfizer, CV 00-298 AHM (Shx) in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles) stated of the ruling:
"Pfizer has known for years that its drug Zoloft can cause some people to become violent and suicidal, and now, through Justice O'Keefe's ruling, the public is finally getting to know this as well. Unfortunately, this information came too late and at great cost to Mr. Hawkins and his wife of 50 years. This type of tragedy will continue until Pfizer comes clean and fully discloses the potential hazards of its drug."