Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child
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(Criminal Assizes).

The Hon. Justice L. P. Pelletier, and the Jury.




This thirteenth day of April, nineteen hundred and twenty, appeared Doctor Albert Marois of Quebec City, aged fifty-nine years, produced by the Crown, who, after having sworn on the Holy Gospels, doth depose and say:

[The first pages of the deposition are devoted to the results of the autopsy, the report of which appears in section 2 of the site, then:]

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CROSS-EXAMINED by Maître FRANCOEUR, K. C., on behalf of the accused:

Q.- When did you do the autopsy, Doctor?

A.- On February thirteenth (13th), nineteen hundred and twenty (1920), in...

Q.- At what time?

A. — At what time? I believe I started at around four o'clock, or three-thirty, and we finished at six o'clock.

At this point, Doctor Lafond leaves the courtroom.

Q.- If I understand you correctly, you began at about....

A.- About three o'clock, I believe. In any case, we left Lachevrotière by car in the morning...

Q.- That's not what I'm asking you?

A.- That's to say that I arrived there in the afternoon.

Q.- When did you start and when did you finish?

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A.- Yes, I finished at about six o'clock.

Q.- Doctor Lafond assisted you?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Was there anyone else?

A.- The coroner came in once or twice.

Q.- During the autopsy?

A.- Yes, during the autopsy.

Q.- Aside from Doctor Jolicoeur, you and Doctor Lafond were the only ones there?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Who did the autopsy?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Where did you do the autopsy?

A.- In the basement of the sacristy, I believe.

Q.- You did this autopsy thoroughly, I understand?

A.- I did it as thoroughly as I always do. Yes, I did it very thoroughly.

Q.- Very thoroughly?

A.- All the organs were examined. There certainly wasn't any other cause of death than the one I mentioned.

Q.- Did you do a special examination of the brain?

A.- I did the autopsy and I examined the brain. I took out the brain. I cut slices of it, as is usually done for all parts that are cut with the naked eye, and there was nothing unusual. I didn't find any pus or abscesses.

Q.- Did you notice any lesions on the meninges?

A.- I didn't notice any lesions on the meninges.

Q.- Did you examine them?

A.- Yes, I examined them. There were no tubercles on the meninges, if that's what you want to know.

Q.- Did you examine the inside of the brain?

A.- Yes -- the brain and the cerebellum.

Q.- Did you notice any internal lesions?

A.- I didn't notice any lesions with a naked eye -- that doesn't mean

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there couldn't be any under a microscope, but to the naked eye... When you absolutely want to establish that there weren't any....

Q.- Was the meningeal vessel hyperaemic?

A.- Very little. There was a little hyperaemia but it was not pronounced.

Q.- A little?

A.- The vessel was a little hyperaemic.

Q.- Now, would you please say whether there were any adhesions between the meninges and the brain?

A.- No, there weren't any.

Q.- What grounds do you have for saying so?

A.- The fact that I examined it. I took it out and there weren't any.

Q.- Was it hyperaemic?

A.- Hyperaemic. I did it as I always do my autopsies.

Q.- Would you please say, Doctor, what colour the -- to use your expression -- cerebrospinal fluid was?

A.- Its colour was absolutely normal.

Q.- Can you explain in layman's terms what this cerebrospinal fluid is?

A.- Well, it's a fluid that is found around the nerve centres, that is there to protect the nerve centres from external shocks, or [shocks] that enter, from entering the brain. And the spinal cord is suspended in fluid so that, when a shock occurs, the fluid goes to protect the limb so that the slightest lesion can't affect the brain. It's a protective fluid covering the cerebral matter, protecting the brain and the spinal cord.

Q.- And that fluid was very clear?

A.- Was as usual. There was no change in colouring. It wasn't sanguineous or purulent.

Q.- It wasn't sanguineous or purulent? It wasn't cloudy either?

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A.- It wasn't cloudy either.

Q.- Was the base of the brain hyperaemic?

A.- No.

Q.- Not at all?

A.- No.

Q.- Did you notice whether there were any hemorrhagic focuses in the brain?

A.- There weren't any.

Q.- You are positive?

A.- I'm positive of it.

Q.- If I understood you correctly, you made incisions into the brain?

A.- Yes, I sectioned it in all directions, as is usually done. I examined the ventricles. I sectioned the various parts of the brain and I didn't notice anything abnormal.

Q.- Did you examine the spinal cord?

A.- No, not beyond the pons cerebelli -- that's the beginning of the spinal cord. I didn't open the vertebral canal to examine the spinal cord along its entire length, except for the upper part. I examined the spinal cord here and there, as I could. I didn't notice anything.

Q.- If I understand correctly, you didn't open the vertebral canal?

A.- No, I didn't open it.

Q.- You didn't examine the spinal cord along its entire length?

A.- No.

Q.- And, as a result, you weren't able to note the condition of the spinal cord, [of] the spinal cord's lateral funiculi?

A.- Even if I had noted the condition of the spinal cord's lateral funiculi, it would have been of no consequence.

Q.- I'm asking you?...

A.- I didn't examine [it].

Q.- I'm not asking you what the consequences would have been; I'm asking you whether you didn't examine it?

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A.- It would not have had any consequence on the result -- on the cause of death.

Q.- What do you know about that?

A.- I know a thing or two because there were no external lesions on the organs that could have explained... It has been perfectly proven that the child had no paralysis -- nothing paralysed. So, as a result....

Q.- Do you persist in swearing, Doctor, that there were no internal spinal cord lesions? Rather, if you didn't open the vertebral canal?

A.- I can't say there were no lesions there, obviously, because I didn't examine it, but I am entirely satisfied with the cause of death. It is absolutely pointless, and besides it's playing with words to try to ....

Q.- I'm not asking you the cause of death at the moment. What I'm asking you is whether you opened the vertebral canal?

A.- I didn't open it.

Q.- You're saying, "NO"?

A.- I'm saying, "No."

Q.- As a result, you weren't able to note any spinal cord lesions?

A.- No, not on the spinal cord.

Q.- Because you didn't open the vertebral canal?

A.- No, I felt that I had seen enough.

Q.- You felt that you had seen enough?

A.- Yes.

Q.- I don't know if you said so -- you weren't able to note the condition of the spinal cord's lateral funiculi?

A.- Since I didn't examine the spinal cord, I didn't see the rest of the spinal cord's lateral funiculi.

Q.- As a result, you didn't do this examination and you cannot tell us about the various illnesses this child might have had.

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You cannot give us information about the various illnesses this child might have had that are related to nutrition or are symptomatic of a lesion on the spinal cord's lateral funiculi.

A.- Since there was no external trophic disorder -- anything other than wounds and blows -- it means absolutely nothing to have not examined the spinal cord, because there was no trophic disorder.

Q.- Do you know, Doctor -- you must know...

A.- It's possible that I don't.

Q.- ....I like to believe that you would [know], after so many years of experience -- that there are a very great number of diseases of the spinal cord?

A.- Oh yes.

Q.- That cause skin sores, and especially on the lower limbs?

A.- Yes, but not like those that I examined.

Q.- But if you didn't examine the spinal cord, you weren't able to establish that?

A.- Yes, but trophic disorders manifest themselves by certain types of lesions, and these weren't the ones that I observed; as a result, there weren't any.

Q.- So, you examined only.... By not examining the spinal cord, your autopsy is incomplete?

A.- Oh, it's quite possible it might have been a little incomplete, but in this case I'm positive that there were no consequences because lesions that are strictly external have nothing to do with the nerve centres... with the nerve centres.

Q.- Isn't the spinal cord examination an essential examination in order to establish whether the child didn't die of an illness caused by spinal cord lesions?

A.- There are no external manifestations of such an illness. As a result, the child didn't die of a spinal cord disease. She died as a result of her wounds -- of the blows she received.

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Q.- Would you please answer my question?

A.- Yes, I'm saying that it's not that.

Q.- (Question reread). I'm not asking you whether she died from lesions or from illnesses caused by spinal cord lesions. I'm not asking you that now. I'm asking you whether, during an autopsy, with the experience you have, it isn't essential to examine the spinal cord and, to do so, to open the vertebral canal?

A.- I admit that that would perhaps have been better, but that isn't usually done and I know many others who would not have done it.

Q.- That isn't an answer?

A.- Well, that is the answer. There was no negligence on my part. I had everything necessary to prove the cause of death and even if you were to insist on the fact that I didn't examine the spinal cord, that can't be of any consequence because the lesions that caused death have nothing to do with any spinal cord wound or disease -- not only of the spinal cord but [of] any organ. There were external illnesses covering... wounds that have nothing to do with either the nerve centres or the other internal organs.

Q.- I know I won't make you change your mind?

A.- Certainly not. If you prove to me that I made a mistake, I can easily change my mind. I didn't do it. I didn't do the autopsy of the spinal cord. It's perfectly useless to dwell on that, because I didn't do it.

Q.- In your opinion. I take the opposite view, and I'm asking you, in that respect, [whether], not having opened the vertebral canal and not having examined the spinal cord, your autopsy is incomplete?

A.- Well, it was incomplete on that point, but I found the cause of death, which cannot be other than the one I gave.

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Q.- Don't come back to that point too often. You might change your opinion at the end of the cross-examination?

A.- No, I won't change [my opinion].

Q.- There is no way to make you change your opinion?

A.- No, because I'm convinced of the cause, and when I'm convinced that I have all the facts to prove the true cause of death, I won't change [my opinion].

Q.- You are determined to persist?

A.- I'm determined to persist because I'm right.

Q.- But even so, you will allow me to ask some other small questions?

A.- Oh, as many as you like.

Q.- Doctor, does a child who scratches herself a great deal -- who has scabs like those you described earlier -- could that not explain that there was a spinal cord illness that decreased her sensitivity?

A.- I don't accept that and besides, the child didn't scratch herself very much. If she had scratched herself, we wouldn't have found crusts on almost all the wounds we found. Because there are crusts, scabs form.

Q.- How do you know she didn't scratch herself? Couldn't she have scratched herself before she died?

A.- No.

Q.- How can you say, Doctor, that she didn't scratch herself much?

A.- She didn't scratch herself much because most of the undressed wounds were only external. There were crusts on them. There were no fingernail scratch marks. There was nothing. When you scratch yourself, it shows externally.

Q.- Yes, but to swear that she scratched herself, or didn't, or didn't very much -- you would have had to have seen her?

A.- To swear that she scratched herself, I would have had to have seen scratch marks. As a result, since she didn't have

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any marks, she didn't scratch herself, that's all.

Q.- You would at least have had to have seen her alive?

A.- No, not necessarily, because fingernail scratch marks can be seen just as clearly on a corpse as on someone who is alive.

Q.- I'm talking about fingernail scratches. Fingernail scratches will show?

A.- No, not necessarily.

Q.- Well then, I don't understand anything. Can't a child with scabs remove those scabs with her fingers, without using her actual fingernails? And if she is wearing clothes, if she is dirty or if she comes into contact with anything at all, she could remove those scabs without you seeing any fingernail marks?

A.- Yes, I understand. That could have helped to infect the sores from the blows she received, obviously. If she picked at them and if the sores weren't protected, she would have encouraged the appearance of infection in the sores. That's the only consequence that it could have had.

Q.- So the sores were infected?

A.- Obviously. I told you there was pus...

Q.- I thought I understood, at the beginning of your testimony, that her death wasn't caused as a result of a generalized infection?

A.- I believe that you misunderstood. I said that there had been generalized debility -- because there were many wounds -- that the sick girl had been exhausted and, in addition, infection had helped bring about death without there being a direct mortal wound. That's what I have said from the beginning.

Q.- Did you examine the child's external genital organs?

A.- Yes, there was nothing wrong with them.

Q.- Did you examine the vulva?

A.- Yes.

Q.- The hymen?

A.- The hymen.

Q.- The uterus and the vagina?

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A.- I examined the external genital organs. I examined the organs fully. There was nothing wrong with them.

Q.- Was the hymen intact?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Are you positive?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Was Doctor Lafond with you when you did that examination?

A.- Oh, he was there. I can't say whether I drew his attention to the fact. Anyhow, Doctor Lafond was there -- I don't know... but I know that I examined the external genital organs and didn't notice anything there.

Q.- Did you examine the clitoris?

A.- Not especially.

Q.- You didn't examine it especially?

A.- I didn't do any special examination to see....

Q.- [Of] those organs?

A.- Not the clitoris any more than the others. I didn't do a special examination of the clitoris. I did an overall examination of the organs and there was nothing there that drew my attention.

Q.- Did you examine the internal genital organs...?

A.- Yes. In my answer I told you that I examined all the organs, and I didn't find anything unusual to my...

Q.- In what condition were the internal genital organs?

A.- There was a small uterus -- definitely that of a child- — of normal size, as well as the appendages. There was nothing unusual there -- absolutely normal.

Q.- There were no peri-uterine lesions?

A.- When I say that the organs were normal, there were no lesions.

Q.- I'm asking you for this fact? Whether you observed that?

A.- I did.

Q.- You didn't notice any salpingitis?

A.- No, there wasn't any.

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Q.- Did you examine--? Did you not examine the ovaries?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Were they adherent?

A.- They weren't adherent.

Q.- Did you examine the peritoneum?

A.- I examined the peritoneum. As soon as you open the stomach, you see it. The peritoneum is an organ that covers the intestines and the walls of the stomach cavity. There was nothing special, as far as the peritoneum is concerned, because the organs contained in the abdominal cavity were normal.

Q.- Did you do a very close examination of the peritoneum?

A.- Well, very close -- yes. I examined the intestines fully because I wanted to verify whether the child had at least been fed. So, since there were still faeces in the intestine, it was a sign that the child was eating.

Q.- Did you look to see whether there were any signs of thickening on the peritoneum?

A.- I didn't notice any. There certainly weren't...

Q.- Did you notice any places where the peritoneum was adhering to the organs, to the intestines?

A.- No, there was no adhesion of the peritoneum. There was no fluid in the stomach.

Q.- Did you open the intestine?

A.- Did I open the intestine? I didn't open the intestine because, firstly, there were no external lesions. I merely wanted to verify whether the child had eaten and, since there were faeces in almost the entire intestine, I knew then. I simply opened up the stomach.

Q.- So you don't know what the intestine contained?

A.- It contained faeces.

Q.- How do you know if you didn't open it?

A.- The intestine was thin enough that you could see through it.

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The child was emaciated enough, the intestines were emaciated enough, to know whether the child's nutrition... It was easy to see that there were faeces in the bottom part of the intestine -- of the large intestine.

Q.- You observed this by looking through the intestine without opening it?

A.- At least, I don't remember having opened it. It's possible that I opened up a part of it. I don't remember.

Q.- Doctor, isn't that an important observation to make during an autopsy -- to open the intestine?

A.- In the type of autopsy I did there, not necessarily, since there were absolutely no external lesions. Besides, I must say right away that I did open the intestine. I remember now... When I went to collect the organs to send them away, I opened the intestine along its entire length.

Q.- You opened the intestine along its entire length?

A.- I forgot that detail.

Q.- What was in the small intestine?

A.- There was a little fluid, faeces, a little fluid. There was.... Since the inflammation I noticed in the stomach had spread a little to the first part of the intestine, but not very far-- The inflammation was especially in the stomach.

Q.- And there wasn't some fluid in the small intestine?

A.- There was a little fluid; [it] generally contained more fluid than the large intestine. But I opened the intestine along its entire length.

Q.- The large intestine?

A.- The large and small intestines contained faeces -- nothing special.

Q.- Solid ou liquid?

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A.- Solid.

Q.- Did you notice ulcerations on the inside of the intestine?

A.- There weren't any.

Q.- You are positive?

A.- Yes, I'm positive of that.

Q.- Did you look very closely?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Along the entire intestine?

A.- Yes. I can tell you the reason why... It's because we sent the organs away to be examined for poison. Since there are always several days between the time when we make our observations and [the time when] the examination is done, the doctor who does the autopsy is required to carefully verify for any anatomical lesions because decomposition causes them to disappear, and the doctor who analyses the organs can't see them because the putrefaction is too already too advanced. As a result, I carefully examined the entire length of the large and small intestines, as much as could be done.

Q.- You were struck by the condition of the stomach, which led you to believe that there was poison?

A.- Yes.

Q.- And is it not possible to assume and to believe that you didn't pay special attention to the intestine?

A.- Well, as I told you, I opened the intestine. I verified approximately up to where the inflammation... But it didn't go very far, not much beyond the first part of the intestine, called the duodenum. There was a bit of redness but nothing compared to what I had seen in the stomach.

Q.- Didn't you think of opening the stomach as an afterthought, after having noticed the condition of the stomach and having decided to send it away to be examined for poison?

A.- I admit that, when we examine the organs contained in the

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stomach cavity, we start with the stomach, and, as soon as I noticed that the stomach was in that condition, I decided -- I asked the coroner if we should... if we should send it away to be analysed. I had doubts, personally, and so I continued my autopsy and I put the organs in jars and, necessarily...

Q.- And as a result, your examination of the stomach -- you can correct me if I'm wrong -- was rather superficial?

A.- No it wasn't superficial. On the contrary, it was more specific than it might have been because I suspected poisoning and, since poison can be found not only in the stomach but throughout the intestine, I paid particular attention to the intestine.

Q.- You paid particular attention to the intestine?

A.- .....

Q.- And yet, earlier, despite this particular attention to the intestine, you didn't remember?

A.- Well, unfortunately, it's possible that people can forget things. But I remember well enough now....

Q.- Earlier, you spoke only about the stomach?

A.- Yes, but I had forgotten that detail.

Q.- It's an important detail?

A.- Yes, yes, but I believe that I have corrected myself sufficiently to prove that there weren't any of those lesions.

Q.- Did you examine the appendix?

A.- Yes. There was nothing wrong there.

Q.- Very carefully?

A.- I noted that there were no lesions there.

Q.- As carefully as the intestine and the stomach?

A.- All along its length. There was nothing wrong with the appendix.

Q.- Did you examine the kidneys?

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A.- Yes.

Q.- The kidneys?

A.- Yes. Not only did I examine them but I also sent them away to be examined. The two kidneys were opened.

Q.- Was the kidney capsule adherent?

A.- Well -- I wouldn't be able to say that with absolute certainty. I opened up the kidneys. There were no particular lesions.

Q.- Did you make just one incision?

A.- I sectioned the kidneys to see whether there weren't any kidney lesions, and there weren't any, so as to be able to inform the chemist, and I placed them in a special jar.

Q.- Did you notice whether there was any inflammation in the fat around the kidneys?

A.- There was no fat. There wasn't any on the corpse.

Q.- I'm not talking to you about the corpse. I'm talking to you about the kidneys?

A.- There wasn't any more there than elsewhere.

Q.- Did you section both kidneys?

A.- Yes.

Q.- You sectioned both kidneys?

A.- I said that we had opened the kidney in half on the connected side, as is usually done, and I didn't notice any visible lesions, and I put them in a special jar to be analysed.

Q.- Am I to understand that you saw only the middle of the kidney in making this single section?

A.- I saw all through the kidney.

Q.- Did you see the side?

A.- I saw the side of the kidney. The kidney -- I don't know if you know what it looks like? You see two halves. It's like a book.

Q.- I studied medicine for only three months. That's not much?

A.- What do you want; I'm sorry.

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Q.- Did you do an examination and see the sides of the kidney?

A.- Yes. There were no lesions on the sides of the kidney.

Q.- Were you able to see whether these separate halves of which you speak had abscesses, granulations?

A.- There weren't any.

Q.- Did you examine the bladder?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Did you open it up?

A.- I opened it up and it contained very clear urine. Unfortunately, I was unable to collect the urine because, when I inserted my instrument, the urine spilled out under the pressure and I was unable to collect it for analysis. But the urine was perfectly clear, normal.

Q.- As a result you weren't able to examine the urine?

A.- No.

Q.- When you say, when you inserted your instrument?...

A.- It's because I intended to collect the urine. I inserted my catheter and the bladder emptied almost immediately. So I was unable to collect enough urine to be able to examine it. Besides, the bladder appeared perfectly normal, as did the urine. I must add that, apart from finding toxic substances in the urine, the examination after death doesn't mean much because, normally, one of the few things [that can be observed] twenty-four hours after death [is that] there is always albumin in the urine. As a result, it is practically meaningless, except to look for toxic substances.

Q.- And if you didn't examine the urine, you are unable to say that the child didn't die of diabetes?

A.- Oh, yes.

Q.- Or uraemia?

A.- She didn't die of uraemia. When someone dies of diabetes or uraemia, the bladder is practically empty. There is no urine in the bladder.

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Q.- How can you establish that if you didn't analyse the urine, as you have just said?

A.- I'm talking about the nature of the urine. With these illnesses, that is precisely what is characteristic. There are sick people who don't urinate, those with uraemia in this respect -- and those with diabetes, who die; because we can't find sugar in their urine, they don't have any.

Q.- In the cases of diabetes, don't they urinate more?

A.- Yes, but when someone dies as a result of diabetes, it is absolutely exceptional that we are able to find urine -- and to find sugar in that case -- because, at the time of death, it happens that urine production stops. There isn't any.

Q.- If I understand correctly, there are cases of uraemia where the patients don't urinate because they don't have any urine?

A.- Because the kidney produces [urine] and uraemia is caused precisely by the fact that the urine, which must be eliminated by the kidneys, remains in the blood and produces a real poisoning, which is uraemia.

Q.- And, according to your theory, having observed urine, there can be no question of poisoning?

A.- No, there can be no question of poisoning, no, nor of uraemia.

Q.- There can be no question of that?

A.- There can be no question of that. There was no uraemia.

Q.- And in the case of diabetes, patients urinate a great deal?

A.- Yes, patients urinate a great deal, frequently, but when they die of diabetes -- they die more often than not -- there is no urine in their bladders. That's the rule.

Q.- They are unable to urinate?

A.- No, not at all. It's because none is produced.

Q.- If you don't observe any urine in the bladder, how can you determine that there is -- that a patient might die of uraemia?

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A.- Aside from the fact... If the kidneys don't produce [urine], there are lesions on the kidneys. There are kidney lesions that accompany uraemia. As a result, I would have found lesions on the kidneys, but in this case they were perfectly healthy.

Q.- In the case of diabetes, can you establish it by analysing the urine?

A.- I told you that, more often than not, when they die of diabetes, that's very unusual... During the autopsy, when you find enough urine to find sugar, it's by chance that you find sugar in the urine. That doesn't really prove that the person died as a result of diabetes. But it's not the rule -- it's definitely an exception...

Q.- Did you examine the liver?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Was it large?

A.- No larger than in its normal state.

Q.- Did you weigh it?

A.- I didn't weigh it. I didn't have a scale.

Q.- You didn't have a scale?

A.- But I will add that there wasn't... I examined it. I sectioned it. I also sent part of it away for analysis because, in suspected cases of poisoning, the liver stores a certain quantity of poison, and it's there again that a certain quantity
can be found.

Q.- You measured it by eye? You didn't weigh it?

A.- I didn't weigh it.

Q.- Was it normal?

A.- It looked normal.

Q.- Looked?

A.- Yes.

Q.- How much does a normal liver weigh?

A.- Oh! That depends on the individual. The liver of a ten-year-old child is not the same as that of a person who weighs two hundred pounds or eighty pounds. It's all very different.

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It inevitably varies with different individuals.

Q.- But for the girl?...

A.- I can't say exactly how much it weighed, but externally it seemed to me to be an absolutely normal liver.

Q.- Did you section the liver?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Can you tell us the diameter of the blood vessels?

A.- No.

Q.- And the biliary vessels?

A.- No.

Q.- You aren't able to tell us the diameter of the blood vessels and the biliary vessels, even after having sectioned the liver?

A.- No.

Q.- Can you say what the actual top of the liver looked like?

A.- [It] looked normal -- maybe slightly more anaemic than usual, slightly less red. The gall bladder was normal. There were no gallstones in the gall bladder.

Q.- Was the liver congested?

A.- It wasn't congested. I just said that it was only slightly anaemic.

Q.- Was the capsule surrounding the liver easily removed?

A.- There didn't appear to be anything unusual about it. I didn't try to remove it. I didn't need to remove it because I was sending the organs away for analysis and I had... There was nothing abnormal.

Q.- You didn't remove the capsule?

A.- No, I didn't remove the capsule of the liver.

Q.- Can you say, then, whether there were any adhesions between the liver and the peritoneum?

A.- There were no adhesions between the liver and the peritoneum.

Q.- The gall bladder?...

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A.- Was normal.

Q.- Was it stretched?

A.- No. There was a small quantity of bile -- nothing abnormal in it.

Q.- There was a bit of bile?

A.- Yes, there was a bit of bile.

Q.- No gall stones?

A.- No.

Q.- Did you examine the pancreas?

A.- Yes.

Q- Did you examine the lungs?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Were there any signs of tuberculosis?

A.- No.

Q.- Did you examine the pleura?

A.- Yes.

Q.- And the mediastinum?

A.- Yes.

Q.- Did the pericardium and the endocardium have any old or recent lesions?

A.- None.

Q.- Was there fluid in the pericardium?

A. — No.

Q.- Did you test each of the valves?

A.- Yes. Nothing abnormal.

Q.- What procedure did you use?

A.- I opened the various cavities and then I examined the valves and there was nothing wrong…

Q.- How did you examine them?

A. I examined them by looking at the dimensions of the openings – [these] being open -- and the valves and the heart were absolutely normal, like those we come across…

Q. What procedure did you use to do this examination?

A. I used only my eyes and my fingers.

Q. You used only your eyes and your fingers?

A. Yes.

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Q. You put your fingers in the… in the valves?

A. Yes, to examine the condition of the valves and their dimension. There was nothing during the examination of the heart that could draw attention.

Q. With that procedure, Doctor, can you identify the exact degree of insufficiency and stricture of the valves?

A. Perhaps not absolutely, not mathematically exactly, but there was absolutely no indication of heart lesions.

Q. You didn't have recourse to what is called the hydraulic procedure?

A. No.

Q. You never use it?

A. I use it very rarely because I don't believe that it's absolutely necessary. There were no lesions there. I understand that....

Q. Isn't it true that it's the only procedure that allows you to know exactly?

A. It's a procedure that is usually followed... when we do autopsies in hospitals where we are perfectly set up, but how can you expect that, in the country, when we're fifteen to eighteen miles away -- we can't take all those organs. It's childish to expect us to be able to do such an autopsy.... Even in Quebec City, we aren't set up to do that. We had only lamps, and nothing obliges us to do that under electric lights. I don't think I failed in my duty with the autopsy I did.

Q. That isn't what I mean.

A. That's the case you're trying to make....

Q. You have just clearly admitted that it is impossible for you to do -- with your resources, your means -- a complete autopsy that allows you to say that a patient -- and especially in the present case -- didn't die from causes other than the ones that you have just mentioned?

A. She certainly didn't die from any other cause than the one I said.

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Q. How can you say so, Doctor, since you yourself admit that your autopsy was necessarily incomplete because of insufficient means or because of examinations that you admit you didn't do?

A. My autopsy was not incomplete, was not insufficient. My autopsy was perfect, sufficiently done, as well done as by any one of our colleagues who are suggesting these questions. My autopsy is of value and the cause of death that I have given is the only real one.

Q. How can you say that the cause of death you have given is the only real one ?...

A. Because ....

Q. Listen, you will answer after I've asked the question -- that will be more productive. When you admit that you didn't examine the spinal cord -- which is an essential organ -- you are not in a position to tell us whether the child didn't die of spinal cord lesions?

A. I did my autopsy the best I could under the circumstances. I found the cause of death. That examination isn't always done at every autopsy, when there is no reason to do it. Anyway, I'm convinced -- I'm absolutely certain -- that there were no lesions on those organs. I can't say for the spinal cord I didn't see, but the cerebrospinal fluid was normal. The first part that I examined had absolutely nothing. As a result, I'm justified in claiming that there were no lesions there and that my autopsy was made as scientifically [as possible] when you consider the circumstances we were in.

Q. I'm asking you once again whether you take it upon yourself to swear that the child could not have died from a cause other than the one that you have mentioned?

A. I swear that the child did not die from any other cause than the one that I said.

Q. When you do so, you are basing your opinion on the incomplete autopsy that you performed?

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A. I am basing my opinion on the sufficiently complete autopsy that I performed.

Q. Sufficiently complete for you -- like those you perform in most cases?

A. My autopsy was.... As far as establishing whether there was violent death, my autopsy was complete.

Q. Do you persist in saying that it was complete, Doctor?

A. Yes, it was complete.

Q. Even without having examined the spinal cord, as the medical examiner....?

A. I'm saying that my autopsy was sufficiently complete.

Q. I'm saying that it wasn't sufficiently complete?

A. I'm saying it was.

Q. I want to have an absolutely clear answer?

A. My answer is very clear. I'm saying that I did a sufficiently complete autopsy to swear as to the cause of death.

Q. To find the cause of death to be as you say?

A. There was no other.

Source: ANQ, TP 999, 1960-01-3623, 1B 014 01-04-004B-01, Cour du banc du roi, assises criminelles, district de Québec, Déposition du Dr Albert Marois, procès de Marie-Anne Houde pour meurtre, April 13, 1920, 24.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History