National Post (Latest Edition)
Appeal court convicts naturopath in death
MONTREAL • The Quebec Court of Appeal has overturned a Montreal naturopath’s acquittal and convicted her of manslaughter in the death of an 84-yearold patient nearly 10 years ago.
In a 46-page judgment released Thursday, the appeal court also ordered a new trial on a charge of criminal negligence causing death.
“I believe to be in the presence of exceptional conditions allowing the acquittal verdict to be substituted for a conviction on the count of manslaughter,” Judge Claude Gagnon wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.
“It is clear to me,” Gagnon said, “that the judge should have concluded, on the basis of the undisputed factual findings, that all the essential elements of the offence of manslaughter are, in this case, established beyond reasonable doubt.”
In the summer of 2008, Roger Matern left a Westmount naturopathy clinic feeling disoriented and struggling to stand upright. Matern, dealing with respiratory problems following heart surgery, had taken the appointment after more traditional treatments proved unsuccessful.
Intravenous injections aren’t typically done on first appointments, Matern was told, but desperate for quick results, he insisted. Naturopath Mitra Javanmardi gave in to his request, injecting him with a magnesium based compound.
Matern’s negative reaction to the injection was immediate. He felt hot, then he trembled. His state worsened after leaving the clinic, when he became confused and agitated. His health continued to decline as his family rushed him to hospital in the middle of the night, where he was pronounced dead soon after — 16 hours after the injection.
When the compound she injected into Matern was later found to be contaminated, Javanmardi, 60, was charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing his death.
In 2015, after a trial that spanned four years and heard from 18 expert witnesses, Quebec Court Judge Louise Villemure acquitted Javanmardi of all charges.
Villemure ruled Javanmardi had taken the necessary precautions before giving Matern the injection and that even if it was illegal to do so — under Quebec law, a naturopath isn’t allowed to give an intravenous injection — she did have enough training to administer the IV.
The verdict shocked the family and the prosecution appealed.
The appeal court sent the case back to court to determine Javanmardi’s sentence for the manslaughter conviction.