Mitra Javanmardi, Quebec naturopath in fatal injection case, found not guilty

Montreal naturopath Mitra Javanmardi has been found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death, seven years after an 84-year-old man died after being injected with magnesium.

Acquitted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal negligence in Roger Matern's death

Naturopath Mitra Javanmardi was acquitted on Wednesday of the charges she was facing in the death of a patient. (CBC)

Montreal naturopath Mitra Javanmardi has been found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death.

She was accused in the 2008 death of Roger Matern, an 84-year-old who died shortly after being injected with magnesium.

"The judge recognized that the victim died of receiving an injection that was contaminated [by bacteria], and obviously the accused is not supposed to do any injections or IV treatments here in Quebec," Crown prosecutor Geneviève Dagenais said outside the courtroom.

Naturopaths in Quebec are not legally allowed to administer treatments intravenously.

Crown considers appeal

Matern's daughter, Gabrielle Matern, said the family was saddened and surprised by the verdict, calling it a miscarriage of justice.

Gabrielle Matern, daughter of the dead man, says justice was not served in the judge's acquittal of Javanmardi. (CBC)

"My father died 16 hours after leaving her office. She performed illegal acts. How she can be totally acquitted, we just don't understand," the woman said.

The Crown also said it will consider appealing the verdict.

Matern's wife Denise testified during the trial that they sought treatment from Javanmardi at the recommendation of a friend.

Her husband had cardiac and respiratory problems, and water in his lungs.

After conventional medicine failed to improve his condition, he decided to try alternative medicine.

Denise Patern testified that Javanmardi suggested a magnesium injection to help the ailing man, promising that there was no danger of negative medical interactions.

Matern began feeling ill about 15 minutes after the injection, and died in hospital the following day.

Gabrielle Matern said her father's death took an immense toll on her mother's mental and physical health.

Naturopath sanctioned

Under Quebec health law, naturopaths are not authorized to administer drugs intravenously.

The judge said Javanmardi, right, had adequate training in other provinces to administer drugs intravenously, even if she was not permitted to do so under Quebec's health laws. (Radio-Canada)

Javanmardi has already been sanctioned by the province's college of physicians regarding that matter.

In handing down her the verdict in Quebec Court, Judge Louise Villemure recognized that the naturopath was not supposed to administer intravenous drugs, but said Javanmardi had received appropriate training and expertise in the United States.

She also received training in Ontario, but was not certified by that province. 

Villemure said Javanmardi acted in good faith when treating Matern and took all necessary precautions.

Javanmardi's lawyer made a brief statement after the judgment was rendered.

"On behalf of Mrs. Javanmardi and the entire defence team, this case has been a very long and sad nightmare for everyone involved," Isabelle Schurman said.

She said she hopes this judgment will be the final chapter in the case.