A Canadian judge has ruled that a man was not criminally responsible for killing his wife because of heavy metal toxicity caused by exposure to metals in two belts used in traditional beliefs purchased in Cambodia in 2007, Canadian media reported Monday.
According to Canadian daily The Edmonton Journal, 52-year-old Narin Sok strangled his wife Deang Huon in July 2008 a day after he attempted to burn belts made of lead, zinc and silver in their Edmonton apartment, a move which doctors say caused “acute poisoning” through smoke inhalation. The court heard that Narin Sok had purchased the belts during a trip to Cambodia in 2007 and that both he and Deang Huon wore them constantly in the belief that it would increase her chances becoming pregnant.
The newspaper reported that family and co-workers had observed strange behaviour in Narin Sok in the weeks leading up to Deang Huon’s death and medical tests later found “toxic quantities of lead, cadmium and manganese in his blood”.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Darlene Acton made the ruling almost a week after Crown and defence lawyers jointly submitted that Narin Sok should be found not criminally responsible for the killing, The Journal said. It stated that the effects of heavy metal toxicity can vary depending on the level of toxicity and which metals the person was exposed to.