Friday, September 16, 2011

Quebec case is not a precedent for assisted suicide law.

On Monday, Leger Ayotte (69), a Quebec man, was given an unconditional discharge after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of negligent use of a firearm.

Some people have referred to this case as proof that the assisted suicide law is becoming "moot" in Canada, but when reading the facts of the case we learn that Ayotte was probably treated correctly by the court.

The article from postmedia news stated:

The 69-year-old man was arraigned in May 2009 after his wife Suzie Perreault-Ayotte was found shot to death in their home in Trois-Rivieres.

Crown prosecutor Maxime Chevalier indicated the woman was suffering from depression at the time, while the man had just learned he had cancer. He said the Crown was not able to prove Ayotte had the intention to help his wife kill herself and added the couple might have had a suicide pact.

In other words, there is no proof that Ayotte actually broke the assisted suicide law. There needs to be intention and not just circumstance in order to convict a person of assisted suicide.

The issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide are being debated throughout Quebec. The Quebec government established a "Dying with Dignity" commission who are intending to release a report soon. Ginette Leblanc is attempting to launch a legal battle in Quebec to strike down Canada's laws that protect people from assisted suicide.

At the same time, the group Vivre dans la Dignite (Living with Dignity) has successfully built a strong opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide in Quebec.

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