Supreme Court of Canada to rule on Westmount naturopath case next week


The Supreme Court of Canada will decide next week whether a Westmount naturopath should be found criminally responsible for the death of an 84-year-old man she was treating in a case that dates back more than a decade.

The case against Mitra Javanmardi, 61, has taken a few twists and turns since she was first charged, in October 2008, with manslaughter and criminal negligence in the death of Roger Matern.

The elderly man had been suffering from respiratory problems following heart surgery and, in June 2008, he turned to the naturopath for help after more traditional medical treatments he underwent provided him with no relief. Javanmardi gave Matern an injection of a magnesium-based compound even though, under Quebec’s Medical Act, she was not allowed to.

Matern became confused and agitated after he left the clinic and he died 16 hours later. When the compound she injected into Matern was later found to be contaminated, Javanmardi, was charged at the Montreal courthouse.

In 2015, following a trial that dragged on for four years, Quebec Court Judge Louise Villemure acquitted the naturopath of all charges. The prosecution appealed and, on May 31, 2018, the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal, declared Javanmardi guilty of manslaughter, and ordered a new trial for the criminal negligence causing death charge. The new trial has yet to be heard because Javanmardi’s defence lawyer, Isabel Schurman, filed the current appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada.

According to the Supreme Court of Canada’s summary of the case, it will determine, among other things, “(w)hether the unlawful act of providing an intravenous injection without being a physician, contrary to (three sections) of the Medical Act, is objectively dangerous.”

Canada’s highest court is scheduled to deliver its decision on Thursday.