Dr. Brian Nadler acquitted of murder, criminal negligence charges

Dr. Brian Nadler outside the Ottawa Courthouse on July 2, 2024, after he was officially acquitted of eight charges against him. (CBC - image credit)
Dr. Brian Nadler outside the Ottawa Courthouse on July 2, 2024, after he was officially acquitted of eight charges against him. (CBC - image credit)
Dr. Brian Nadler outside the Ottawa Courthouse on July 2, 2024, after he was officially acquitted of eight charges against him.
Dr. Brian Nadler outside the Ottawa Courthouse on July 2, 2024, after he was officially acquitted of eight charges against him.

Dr. Brian Nadler outside the Ottawa Courthouse on Tuesday after he was officially acquitted of eight charges against him. (CBC)

Dr. Brian Nadler, who formerly practised at a hospital in Hawkesbury, Ont., and faced eight charges in connection to the deaths of four patients, was officially acquitted Tuesday at the Ottawa Courthouse.

Lawyer Brian Greenspan said last week that his client would likely be acquitted of all eight charges against him — four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of criminal negligence causing death — on the first day of what was supposed to be a five-week trial in Ottawa.

"We had stated that once all the facts had been presented, Dr. Nadler would be vindicated," Greenspan said outside the courthouse Tuesday. "The acquittals today are that vindication."

The pre-trial judge decided to make certain evidence inadmissible, the Crown said last week, indicating they had to take this step to be able to mount a challenge around that evidence.

"The Crown has concluded that the effect of this court's evidentiary rulings is to exclude evidence sufficiently important to the prosecution that the Crown is unable to continue," prosecutor Robin Flumerfelt wrote in an email.

In order to be able to appeal the pre-trial rulings, the Crown would ask for Nadler to be arraigned, Flumerfelt wrote, "after which we will call no evidence and ask for directed verdicts of acquittal on all counts."

Asked for reaction Tuesday, the Crown sent a one-sentence email: "The Crown is preserving its right to appeal and seek a new trial and will make no further comment at this time."

By contrast, the defence held an approximately 15-minute scrum outside the courthouse that featured Greenspan speaking on Nadler's behalf, first reading from a prepared statement and then taking questions.

"It is tragic that Dr. Nadler's life and reputation have been clouded by the innuendo of suspicion surrounding these deaths for the past 3 years," Greenspan read.

Nadler declined multiple opportunities to speak for himself.

Dr. Brian Nadler, centre, with defence lawyers including Brian Greenspan, right, outside the Ottawa Courthouse on July 2, 2024.
Dr. Brian Nadler, centre, with defence lawyers including Brian Greenspan, right, outside the Ottawa Courthouse on July 2, 2024.

Nadler, centre, with defence lawyers including Brian Greenspan, right, outside the courthouse Tuesday. His defence says Nadler has been vindicated. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Away from the scrutiny of the judge and Crown, Greenspan effectively offered a summary of the defence he and his team had been ready to present: that Nadler gave excellent palliative care to the four patients, and that the sedative and opioid medication he gave them were appropriate.

Multiple experts including forensic pathologists and clinical toxicologists were ready to testify to this, Greenspan said.

Greenspan also dismissed the Crown's appeal is "a procedural technicality."

List of charges grew

Nadler was initially charged with first-degree murder in March 2021 in connection with the death of 89-year-old Albert Poidinger at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, roughly halfway between Ottawa and Montreal.

Police later laid three additional charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of 80-year-old Claire Briere, 79-year-old Lorraine Lalande and 93-year-old Judith Lungulescu.

Court documents alleged Poidinger was killed on March 25, 2021, and the three others died "on or about" that date. The documents say Briere, Lalande and Lungulescu also died in Hawkesbury.

In February, a new indictment against Nadler filed in Ottawa included four new charges of criminal negligence causing death involving the same four patients.

Nadler has been out of custody on bail since July 2021. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario suspended his licence to practise days after he was first charged.

Greenspan said Tuesday that Nadler has no specific plans for what comes next, and declined to comment on whether his client should have his licence reinstated.