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'This was a fairly significant fatal injury': Medical examiner testifies at teen's manslaughter trial

Police examine evidence after a 16-year-old was stabbed and later died in April 2022. (CTV News Edmonton)
Police examine evidence after a 16-year-old was stabbed and later died in April 2022. (CTV News Edmonton)

A medical examiner was one of the final witnesses called by the Crown during a teen's manslaughter trial in Edmonton.

The teen, SM, is one of seven charged with a deadly attack in 2022 on a 16-year-old boy.

The teens involved and name of the school near where the attack happened can not be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and a publication ban.

The medical examiner, Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra, performed the autopsy on the boy.

In addition to signs of medical intervention, he noted three sharp force injuries.

The first was on the boy's chest. A wound he said penetrated into the lung and heart.

"This was a fairly significant fatal injury," Balachandra said. "Anybody with that type of injury will have a damaged brain. That's what happened to him," he added.

"Each time the heart contracted the blood leaked out of the heart. So during that time the brain suffered the damage. The other organs also suffered damage, but the brain is more vulnerable to lack of oxygen," he told the court.

Dr. Balachandra said the second wound went through the boy's back into his kidney.

"If this person received only this wound and within the course of treatment he could have been saved," he said.

He noted a third wound on the boy's shoulder. "A long cut wound," he told the court.

Crown prosecutor Bethan Franklyn asked how long it would have taken to see the individual exhibiting a response to the heart and lung injury.

"He would have started bleeding, but it would not have caused instantaneous impairment. He would have been able to do certain things after, for two to three minutes," said Dr. Balachandra.

He was asked the same question about the injury to the kidney.

"He would have been alive for half an hour or more," he said.

Franklyn then asked if there would have been any impact due to adrenaline.

"That would make things worse," the medical examiner replied.

The court also heard that a pellet was removed from behind one of the boy's ears.

During cross-examination, SM's lawyer Brian Beresh asked if the boy's legs were examined. "Yes," the medical examiner responded.

"There were no injuries on the legs up to the waist?" asked Beresh.

"There was no significant bruises or injuries," Dr. Balachandra said.

When asked by Beresh, the medical officer also agreed there were no injuries to the boy's face or head.

Two members of the Edmonton Police Service also testified on Wednesday.

One spoke about evidence collection at the scene. The other spoke about a video timeline of the incident he compiled for detectives using surveillance video collected.

As the crown closed its case, Beresh raised an issue with the court.

Citing a section of the Criminal Code of Canada, Beresh told the court there needs to be clarification before deciding whether to call evidence of their own.

"How he's being prosecuted specifically," Beresh said.

"All this request is about is a level playing field," he said.

The matter will be discussed when the trial resumes on Thursday. Top Stories

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