Canada Assisted Suicide Case Heading to Trial With Jury Selection Complete
by Steven Ertelt
November 24, 2008
Alma, Canada (LifeNews.com) — With the jury selection complete, an assisted suicide case in Canada involving a Quebec man who helped his sick uncle kill himself is not heading to trial. On Tuesday, nine women and three men were chosen for the jury after some candidates were excused for already having made up their mind about the case.
Stephan Dufour, 30, is charged with one count of assisting a suicide after helping Chantal Maltais kill himself in September 2006.
Maltais had muscular dystrophy, was confined to a wheelchair, and had told his family for hears he wanted their help in taking his life. He had repeatedly tried to kill himself.
Following a long investigation, police arrested Dufour in May 2007.
Dufour has pleaded not guilty and his lawyer, Michel Boudreault told The Canadian Press he is looking forward to trying the case.
"The time that has lapsed has allowed us to analyze the police report and to delve deeper into assisted suicide – both in Quebec and the rest of Canada," Boudreault said. "We decided there were a number of reasons to hold a trial before a jury, for a number of reasons which we will argue in front of them."
Assisted suicide is illegal and, if found guilty, Dufour could spend 14 years in prison. However, previous cases have ended without a guilty verdict as the law has been tough to enforce.
Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada, has been worried that Canada could be on its way to legalizing assisted suicide.
He has been monitoring the possibility of a private member’s bill in Parliament for some time and he says the Washington vote earlier this month to make it the second American state to allow it exacerbates his concerns.
"This is a tragic loss to vulnerable people everywhere," he told LifeNews.com about the I-1000 vote.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.