Police Recommend Charges in Quebec Attempted Murder/Euthanasia Case

GATINEAU, Quebec, August 23, 2005 ( – Police said they have no doubt that criminal charges should be laid in the attempted murder of an elderly Gatineau man suffering with terminal cancer, after an unidentified woman close to him administered a near-lethal dose of morphine last Tuesday.

“We don’t enter the debate,” said Gatineau police Lieutenant Jean-Paul Le May Thursday, according to an Ottawa Sun report. “There is a definition and it meets the definition and we suggest charges. In the Criminal Code, there is nothing suggesting compassionate murder,” he added. “Murder is murder.”

Police arrived moments after the near-lethal dose was administered, after being tipped off by a concerned person. “The morphine had been administered and the man was rushed to hospital where he received treatment,” Le May said. “He’s now out of danger from the effects of the morphine.”

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Executive Director Alex Schadenberg condemned the woman’s actions. “It’s completely wrong to take another person’s life,” he reminded. “You can’t assume they are in a situation where they wanted it. It’s right for a nation to protect its most vulnerable citizens.”

Schadenberg added that the “prime reason” we need a law against assisted suicide is because “the only way to stop the killing of vulnerable persons is to say that as a society we do not condone killing of any sort.”

Schadenberg conceded that it is possible the woman may have simply “lost it,” triggering her to do “something that she otherwise would not have done.” Schadenberg said he questioned what kind of support existed in this situation. Although not condoning the action, he wondered, “How do we as a society care for the dying?”


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