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      Portugal's first major forensic case and the genesis of forensic toxicology: 10 years of research to reconstruct the event.

      Forensic Sciences Research
      Informa UK Ltd.
      forensic toxicology, Vicente Urbino de Freitas, Mário Guilherme Augusto de Sampaio, Medical-Surgical School, Forensic sciences, António Joaquim Ferreira da Silva

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          Abstract

          The "Crime of Flores Street" is one of the most famous cases of poisoning to divide public opinion in Portugal in the late 19th century, and it also demonstrated the weaknesses of the Portuguese medicolegal system and attested to the importance of toxicological analysis. Vicente Urbino de Freitas was a prominent doctor, graduating from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra in 1875. He later became Professor of Physiology at the Porto Medical-Surgical School and author of a number of books on leprosy. In 1877, he married Maria das Dores Basto Sampaio Freitas, and this was followed by the death of a number of her close relatives in suspicious circumstances, notably her brother José António Sampaio Junior and nephew Mário Guilherme Augusto de Sampaio. This review aims to retell the story of Portugal's first significant medicolegal case as well as the accompanying judicial drama that gave birth to Forensic Toxicology in Portugal and prompted the medicolegal organization that exists today. This research was carried out over a 10-year period and represents undeniable historical value given the rarity of the facts compiled. At the heart of this forensic case was the use of toxicological analyses in court for which the Chemist António Joaquim Ferreira da Silva played a key role. This toxicological report revealed high concentrations of morphine, delphinine and narceine in viscera and in Mario's urine. The Mario's cause of death was attributed to poisoning by opium alkaloids. Despite the strong judicial evidence, doubts still remains as to whether Vicente Urbino de Freitas was a "monster" or a victim of circumstances and a hapless martyr.

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          Hipócrates traído [Cheating hippocrates]

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