Accused’s experience, education were relevant in determining if she met standard of care

Criminal Law - Offences against the person and reputation - Criminal negligence causing death

Accused was naturopath who administered nutrients by way of intravenous injection to patient. Nutrient solution for intravenous injection was prepared from separate vials that turned out to be contaminated. Patient reacted negatively almost immediately and died of endotoxic shock some hours later. Accused was arrested and charged with criminal negligence causing death and manslaughter. Trial judge was satisfied that accused had required skills to administer intravenous injections, followed required protocols and taken sufficient precautions. Based on these findings, trial judge acquitted accused of both charges and Crown appealed . Court of Appeal concluded that trial judge misstated constituting elements of offences and erred by considering accused’s training . Court of Appeal found that intravenous injection was objectively dangerous and accused’s conduct constituted marked departure from reasonable person standard. Court of Appeal set aside both acquittals, substituted conviction on charge of unlawful act manslaughter and ordered new trial on criminal negligence charge . Accused appealed . Appeal allowed . Both charges against accused required her conduct to be measured against standard of reasonable person in her circumstances. Accused’s professional experience and her education were relevant in determining whether she met applicable standard of care. Erroneous articulation of fault element for offences was irrelevant to outcome. Therefore, both acquittals were restored.

R. c. Javanmardi (2019), 2019 CarswellQue 9723, 2019 CarswellQue 9724, 2019 SCC 54, 2019 CSC 54, Wagner C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Côté J., Brown J., and Rowe J. (S.C.C.); reversed (2018), 2018 CarswellQue 4498, 2018 QCCA 856, Gagnon J.C.A., Marcotte J.C.A., and Hilton J.C.A. (C.A. Que.).

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