Montreal

Canada's top court sides with Quebec naturopath in manslaughter, negligence case

The Supreme Court of Canada has found Mitra Javanmardi not guilty of manslaughter or criminal negligence in the death of an elderly man.

Mitra Javanmardi's 84-year-old patient died shortly after being injected with magnesium in 2008

Mitra Javanmardi was acquitted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal negligence in 2015, but the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal. (Radio-Canada)

A Quebec naturopath is not guilty of manslaughter or criminal negligence in the death of an elderly man, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.

Roger Matern, an 84-year-old with heart disease, visited Mitra Javanmardi's clinic in 2008 at the suggestion of a friend as he was frustrated with conventional treatments.

After discussing his condition, Javanmardi gave him nutrients intravenously and he reacted poorly, complaining of being hot and nauseated. Matern did not want to go to hospital and returned home, but died a short time later due to contamination of a vial used during the nutrient injection.

Acquittals restored

Javanmardi had been charged with unlawful-act manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death.

A judge acquitted her on both counts, ruling Javanmardi had the necessary skills to administer intravenous injections even if she was not authorized to do so under Quebec law.

Javanmardi had injected nutrients intravenously to about 10 patients a week for many years.

The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned the manslaughter acquittal, finding Javanmardi guilty on that count, and ordered a new trial on the charge of criminal negligence.

In its 5-2 decision Thursday, the Supreme Court restored the acquittals.

The majority said the trial judge's factual findings amply supported the conclusion that an intravenous injection, given properly by a qualified naturopath, did not pose a foreseeable risk of bodily harm in the circumstances.

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