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


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          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]


            Author and article information

            Forensic Sci Res
            Forensic Sci Res
            Forensic Sciences Research
            Taylor & Francis
            March 2019
            20 November 2018
            : 4
            : 1 , Special Issue on Forensic Anthropology, Part II: Estimation of Age and Identification; Guest Editor: Douglas H. Ubelaker
            : 69-81
            [a ]Department of Sciences, IINFACTS – Institute of Research and Advanced Training in Health Sciences and Technologies, University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS), CESPU, CRL , Gandra, Portugal;
            [b ]UCIBIO-REQUIMTE, Laboratory of Toxicology, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto , Porto, Portugal;
            [c ]Department of Public Health and Forensic Sciences, and Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto , Porto, Portugal
            Author notes
            CONTACT Ricardo Jorge Dinis-Oliveira ricardinis@ 123456sapo.pt
            Author information
            © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Academy of Forensic Science.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            : 12 July 2018
            : 07 October 2018
            Page count
            Figures: 15, Tables: 0, Pages: 10, Words: 5644
            Funded by: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)
            Award ID: IF/01147/2013
            Funded by: FEDER
            Award ID: 007265-UID/QUI/50006/2013
            Ricardo Dinis-Oliveira acknowledges Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) for his Investigator Grant [grant number IF/01147/2013]. This work was supported by FEDER under Program PT2020 [grant number 007265-UID/QUI/50006/2013].

            forensic sciences,forensic toxicology,vicente urbino de freitas,antónio joaquim ferreira da silva,medical-surgical school,mário guilherme augusto de sampaio


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