An Australian man who pled guilty to murder in the death of his wife, claiming that the act was part of a suicide pact that he had with his wife. But Justice Bruno Fiannaca decided that this was an act of murder and not mercy.
Victoria Laurie, the Senior reporter for The Australian, reported that Justice Fiannaca sentenced Kevin John Keith (71) to 10 years imprisonment before parole in the death of his wife Kerrie Anne. The article reported:
During the trial, Keath’s lawyer Karen Farley QC had told the Supreme Court it was her client’s “only and deepest” regret that he had not fulfilled the agreement with his wife to kill himself.
Instead, Mr. Keath drove to a nearby town and confessed to police on the night of the killing, saying he was “guilty as sin.” Keath told police he had not killed himself because he wanted to ensure his wife’s body was treated with dignity.
Mrs.Keath had left a suicide note saying the couple had a suicide pact and after “dispatching” her, her husband was going to kill himself “as a loving act” to her. The couple had made a suicide pact after they lost a large sum of money from a bad investment.
Justice Fiannaca told Mr. Keath that he had a duty to look after his wife, not to kill her. The article reports that Justice Finnaca responded to the “Mercy Killing” plea in this manner:
the question of euthanasia “is a vexed question in society.” … that Keath had repeatedly stated that he had not wanted to become bankrupt and live on in a flat on a pension, or rely on his son for help.
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The judge noted that his wife had “wished to die and she wished for you to take her life…Notwithstanding that, you have no right to take her life.”
“It would be very sad indictment on our society if one sought to justify a killing …to avoid a lifestyle that is seen to be intolerable.”
Justice Fiannaca referred to Mr. Keith’s behavior as an act of murder, not mercy.