Pathologist cross-examined by defence on last day of Bushby trial

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Karen Edwards

THUNDER BAY – Defence counsel for Brayden Bushby argued it is impossible to know for certain if the injury Barbara Kentner sustained in late January 2017 was the cause of her death six months later.
On Wednesday, Nov. 4,  Dr. Toby Rose, the pathologist who conducted the post-mortem examination of Kentner who died in palliative care in July 2017 took the stand for a second day as she was cross-examined by Bushby’s lawyer, George Joseph.
Kentner was struck in the abdomen by a trailer hitch from a moving vehicle in late January 2017. She died six months later.
Bushby pleaded guilty to throwing the trailer hitch at Kentner but not guilty to one count of manslaughter in connection to her death on Monday, Nov. 2.
Kentner’s cause of death was explained by Dr. Rose on Tuesday, Nov. 2. She told the court Kentner’s death was caused by bronchopneumonia and acute-on-chronic peritonitis due to a traumatic rupture in the small intestine caused by a blunt force injury to her abdomen.  Dr. Rose also said Kentner’s chronic liver disease contributed to her death but was not the direct cause of it.
Dr. Rose described Kentner’s death as complicated and ultimately gave the expert opinion the injury from the trailer hitch hastened her death on Tuesday.
During Rose’s cross-examination on Wednesday, Joseph asked if the pathologist knew by how much the blunt force trauma hastened her death.
“I don’t know the answer to that. Ms. Kentner was a very sick woman and I believe she would have died as a result of her liver disease but I believe the injury and complications of her injury hastened her death,” she said. 
“By how much? I don’t know,” she added.
Joseph also asked if she had never suffered the traumatic bowel rupture if she still could have passed away on July 4, 2017, from her chronic liver disease.
Dr. Rose said it would be possible.
Joseph also pointed out to Dr. Rose about a fluid that was found in Kentner’s abdomen known as ascites during her autopsy. Medical records dated from Jan. 5, 2017 show this fluid was likely present in Kentner prior to Jan. 29, 2017.
“I would agree with you she most certainly had ascites before her injury,” Dr. Rose said. 
Joseph suggested to Dr. Rose that a different forensic pathologist could have come to a different conclusion in Kentner’s autopsy and Dr. Rose agreed.
The Crown closed their case against Bushby and defence counsel announced they would not be calling any witnesses on Wednesday. Lawyers are expected to present closing arguments on Thursday, Nov. 5.