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Thread: Euthanasia or Murder????

  1. #41
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    A FORMER federal attorney-general, retired Supreme Court judge and voluntary euthanasia advocate is to be investigated for alleged contempt of court.

    Kep Enderby, a former federal Labor MP for Canberra, was until four months ago president of the NSW Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

    He claimed that Shirley Justins and Caren Jenning had been offered a deal by the prosecution some time before their trial. The deal offered to drop the more serious murder and manslaughter charges if the women pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Mr Wylie's suicide.

    Nine days into the trial, Justins agreed to plead guilty to assisting Mr Wylie's suicide, while Jenning pleaded guilty to importing the drug Nembutal into Australia. But by then the Crown no longer offered to drop the other charges.

    Mr Enderby said he had passed the information about the deal on to the society which had "inadvertently" put this up on its website, where it remained during the trial. The jury had been instructed not to search the internet in relation to the case.

    Justice Roderick Howie, who presided over the trial, said - in the absence of the jury - he would refer Mr Enderby to the Solicitor-General for contempt of court.

    At another time during the trial, Mr Enderby commented loudly about the evidence, and Justice Howie warned him, saying, "You ought to know better".

    Mr Enderby said yesterday he had not been aware that his comments had been published. He believed nothing would come of the referral to the Solicitor-General, Michael Sexton, SC.

    In other information on the organisation's website, Mr Enderby appealed for donations for Jenning's legal fighting fund and said: "I am convinced that she has committed no crime."

    The website also contained an email from Jenning's solicitor to Mr Enderby, outlining the case. Jenning's solicitor, Sam Macedone, said he did not know his letter had been published on the internet, and Justice Howie did not refer this matter to the Solicitor-General.


    Mr Enderby said he had to temper his comments about the verdict because he was so angry and might risk further contempt charges if he spoke his mind.

    He said: "A monstrous wrong has been done to these very fine women who have led blameless lives and conscientiously believed that what they were doing was in the interest of this man whom they both admired and loved and wanted to help."

    Philip Nitschke's partner, Dr Fiona Stewart, who is writing a book about this case, was also warned by Justice Howie not to take notes in court or discuss what she had heard with Dr Nitschke



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  2. #42
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    Default Euthanasia killer takes her own life

    There has been an interesting twist to this case, after only a few months from when the jury reached a verdict Caren Jenning has taken her own life


    "She died last night after taking Nembutal,"

    One of two Sydney women convicted over the euthanasia drug killing of former Qantas pilot Graeme Wylie has taken her own life.

    Euthanasia advocate Phillip Nitschke today said Caren Jenning, 75, overdosed last night with the euthanasia drug Nembutal, which is banned in Australia.

    "She died last night after taking Nembutal," Dr Nitschke said.

    "She left a detailed statement about the reasons why she chose to take this course."

    Jenning was suffering from terminal cancer.

    Jenning and her friend Shirley Justins were convicted in June over the death of Mr Wylie. Both were due to be sentenced on October 7.


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  3. #43
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    A WOMAN convicted for her role in the manslaughter of the Alzheimer's sufferer Graeme Wylie has taken her life with the same drug she illegally obtained for him.

    Caren Jenning, 75, died alone on Thursday night, the euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke confirmed yesterday, calling her death "inevitable".

    "It is not unexpected given the treatment and persecution she received at the hands of the legal system in the past few months," Dr Nitschke said.

    Ms Jenning had been suffering from terminal cancer, which had spread from her breasts.

    She is survived by her daughter Kate, who had been unaware of her plan, Dr Nitschke said.

    A detailed statement by Ms Jenning would be read to a conference on dementia on Monday, he said yesterday.

    Her lawyer, Sam Macedone, said he received Ms Jenning's statement in the mail yesterday.

    When police arrived at her home they found a suicide note next to her body, he said. Her death has been reported to the coroner and an autopsy is likely.

    He said he believed she did not want to take the risk that she might have to go to jail and probably decided to "go while I can".

    The court ruled Mr Wylie no longer had the capacity to decide to kill himself because of his advanced dementia.

    Ms Jenning and Mr Wylie's partner, Shirley Justins, were due to appear in the Supreme Court next month for a sentencing hearing for their role in his death in March 2006.

    During the six-week trial, Ms Jenning had admitted she had travelled to Mexico to obtain the drug Nembutal for her long-time friend days before his death. The court heard she had made a second trip intending to obtain the drug for herself and another member of the voluntary euthanasia movement, but had lost courage and decided not to do so.

    Ms Jenning was a member of Exit International, which was founded by Dr Nitschke.

    The drug, advocated as the drug of choice by the organisation, was used in Australia by vets but is now illegal. It can, the court heard, be obtained in veterinary supply shops in Mexico.

    Ms Jenning had been found guilty of being an accessory before the fact to Mr Wylie's manslaughter and of importing the drug. Ms Justins was found guilty of manslaughter.

    During the court case, her daughter Kate Jennings said her mother, a former English teacher, was a selfless person who had been involved in many causes.

    The former head of the NSW Voluntary Euthanasia society, Kep Enderby, said he was shocked by her death. "She was one of the finest people I've ever known," he said.

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  4. #44
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    Default A whodunit of our times

    DOZENS of grey-haired men and women stood to attention and sang with fervour to a familiar tune: "We're Aussies but we can't rejoice. In old age we're not free. For we believe it is our right to die with dignity."


    They had come together in Sydney yesterday for the opening of a conference on dementia, voluntary euthanasia and the law, sparked by the recent trial of Caren Jenning and Shirley Justins over the death of an Alzheimers sufferer, Graeme Wylie.


    Jenning, who killed herself last week, was given a posthumous award by the founder of Exit International, Philip Nitschke, for her contribution to the cause.


    But then Dr Nitschke let slip that someone in the room knew more than many about Jenning's suicide; someone to whom she had entrusted her portion of a drug she had illegally imported into Australia.


    Jenning had cancer and had brought Nembutal, used by vets to kill animals, back from a trip to Mexico. Some for Mr Wylie, and some for herself, Dr Nitschke said. During her trial she failed to mention this.


    But Jenning expected her home would be raided after Mr Wylie's death - for which she was convicted of being accessory before the fact of manslaughter - so she hid the drug in the backyard of a friend or friends. When she went to retrieve it recently, Dr Nitschke told reporters yesterday, the friend or friends knew what it was, and what Jenning was planning to do with it. Therefore, Dr Nitschke said, they might be guilty of assisting her suicide, although he did not expect police to take any action.


    While those who had guarded the drug for her knew, and Dr Nitschke knew of her plan, Jenning had not discussed it with her daughter, Kate Jennings, who was at the conference yesterday at the Holiday Inn at Potts Point. (Her mother changed her name by dropping the "s".)


    Ms Jennings said she would not have stopped her mother, who was a determined and passionate woman, "a little woman with a huge heart" who "touched countless lives".


    Her mother's final statement was read for the first time at the conference. In it, Caren Jenning defended her actions as being driven by respect and compassion for Mr Wylie. Despite assurances from her solicitor that she was unlikely to go to jail, she chose to "impose upon myself the penalty of death".
    Jenning said she had felt bullied and persecuted during her trial, and "these issues are significant in my decision to end my life".



    When it came to this end, she believed she had to die alone to protect her loved ones from prosecution.


    Mr Wylie had died alone, too, but this did not stop police from investigating his death. Jenning was ultimately convicted of the manslaughter accessory charge and of importing the Nembutal for Mr Wylie. Shirley Justins, who was convicted of Mr Wylie's manslaughter, is due to be sentenced later this year.
    Jenning had feared having no access in jail to the painkillers she now needed many times a day. "I do not wish to spend my last days in custody," she wrote. "My cancer is spreading and pain is on the increase. While I still have remaining some worthwhile months of life, I cannot risk spending any of them in jail."



    Kate Jennings, daughter of Caren Jenning, with Dr Nitschke yesterday

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  5. #45
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    Default Euthanasia drug killer awaits sentencing

    October 24, 2008

    Sydney woman Shirley Justins, who killed her partner with a euthanasia drug, may not have to serve a full-time jail term, the sentencing judge has indicated.

    Justice Roderick Howie also described Justins' accomplice - who has since committed suicide - as an "out and out liar" who got "a free trip to Mexico" to buy the drugs to kill Graeme Wylie.

    The judge on Friday said it was now known 75-year-old Caren Jenning has used the same trip to buy the drugs she used to end her own life last month.

    "Ms Jenning used Ms Justins and Mr Wylie," the judge said in the NSW Supreme Court.

    " ... Ms Justins ended up paying for Ms Jenning to commit suicide."

    The judge made the comments at the sentencing hearing for Justins, 59, who has been found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Wylie, 75.

    Her partner of 18 years was killed with a lethal dose of the barbiturate Nembutal at his Cammeray home in Sydney in 2006.

    The former Qantas pilot, who had Alzheimer's disease, was rejected for a legally assisted suicide in Switzerland months before his death, on cognitive grounds.

    Jenning, who was suffering terminal breast cancer, was convicted of being an accessary before the fact of manslaughter, but killed herself last month.

    Justice Howie said the case, which he was told was unique in the English speaking world, had received wide publicity but had been misinterpreted by many people as a test case related to euthanasia.

    "The simple fact is that this was a serious crime and it has nothing to do with a person's right to take his or her own life - quite the contrary," he said.

    In order to assess the criminality of Justins, the judge said he had to determine the role of each of the women.

    "It seems to me this may be one of those extremely rare cases where the culpability of the accessary was more than the culpability of the principle," he said.

    The judge said he was not persuaded that the fact Justins now had a manslaughter conviction was enough of a deterrent to other people contemplating what she did.

    But he was not "necessarily of the view" that a full time custodial sentence needed to be imposed.

    He referred to the degree of planning involved, to Justins' keeping Mr Wylie away from his usual doctors, and depriving his daughters of the chance to say goodbye to their father.

    Mark Tedeschi QC, for the crown, told the judge the crown accepted Justins was primarily motivated by doing what Mr Wylie would have wanted.

    "We concede she had ... a desire to put his suffering to an end," he said.

    Justins' barrister Peter Bodor QC submitted she should not receive a full time jail term, telling the judge all Mr Wylie wanted "was a dignified death before he wasted away".

    His two daughters, Tania Shakespeare and Nicola Dumbrel, both wept on Friday as they told the judge of the suffering brought on by their father's death.

    They said they were betrayed by those who were supposed to be looking after their father, whom they did not get a chance to farewell.

    Mr Bodor tendered another victim impact statement from Mr Wylie's sister, Dulcie Parsons, who spoke of the sense of tremendous loss resulting from his death.

    But she said: "I know his peaceful death is what he desperately wanted".

    Justice Howie will sentence Justins on November 12.

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  6. #46
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    Default Robbed of the chance to say goodbye: judge calls death an affront

    October 25, 2008


    THE killing of an Alzheimer's sufferer was not a test case for euthanasia or a person's right to commit suicide, but an "affront to normal society" which required punishment, the judge presiding over the case said.

    Justice Roderick Howie of the Supreme Court said he was affected by the statements of Graeme Wylie's daughters, who yesterday cried in court, where they described how their father's sudden death deprived them of a chance to say goodbye.

    Mr Wylie died in March 2006 from a dose of the drug Nembutal, illegally imported by his friend Caren Jenning and handed to him by his partner, Shirley Justins. Justins was convicted of his manslaughter and Jenning - who committed suicide last month - of being an accessory before the fact.

    While the Crown prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi, QC, said the prosecution did not push for Justins to serve a full-time prison term, Justice Howie said he was certain he would impose some punishment, possibly prison, when he sentenced her next month.

    However, he said Jenning had been more criminally responsible than Justins because she knew Mr Wylie was no longer capable of making his own decisions. She had been a criminal and "an out-and-out liar", who had "manufactured evidence" and "never accepted the slightest moral or criminal responsibility" for her role in Mr Wylie's death.

    She had accepted money from Justins to go to Mexico to buy the Nembutal for Mr Wylie and herself, he said.

    "She got a free trip to Mexico to buy her own drugs as well, which we now know she lied about in the witness box," Justice Howie said.

    He criticised media coverage of the case, as did Mr Wylie's daughters, and said some people in society, and the spokesmen of the euthanasia movement did not want to see Justins punished.

    "The court will impose punishment for this affront to normal society. The simple fact is this was a serious crime and is nothing to do with a person's right to take his or her own life."

    Justins had planned to change Mr Wylie's will to improve her inheritance, he said.

    Mr Tedeschi also argued that Justins had also deliberately not taken Mr Wylie to his usual doctors to prevent any doctor interfering with her plan to kill him. One of his doctors in later life, Omprakash Gupta, would be referred to the appropriate authorities, Justice Howie said.

    Mr Wylie's daughter Nicola Dumbrell, who praised the commitment of police and prosecution staff, said she was "angry and extremely hurt" that the women had taken advantage of his vulnerability and given him "such an undignified end".

    Her sister, Tania Shakespeare, said it was "heart-wrenching" to have been misled about her father's wish to die "to serve a financial gain and to further the ideology of Exit International".

    Her father was happy when last she had seen him, and demonstrated his capacities by standing on one leg. But now she was struggling to explain to her children how he had died mysteriously and without her realising how advanced his Alzheimer's had been.

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  7. #47
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    Default Euthanasia drug killer awaits sentencing

    October 24, 2008


    Sydney woman Shirley Justins, who killed her partner with a euthanasia drug, may not have to serve a full-time jail term, the sentencing judge has indicated.

    Justice Roderick Howie also described Justins' accomplice - who has since committed suicide - as an "out and out liar" who got "a free trip to Mexico" to buy the drugs to kill Graeme Wylie.

    The judge on Friday said it was now known 75-year-old Caren Jenning has used the same trip to buy the drugs she used to end her own life last month.

    "Ms Jenning used Ms Justins and Mr Wylie," the judge said in the NSW Supreme Court.

    " ... Ms Justins ended up paying for Ms Jenning to commit suicide."

    The judge made the comments at the sentencing hearing for Justins, 59, who has been found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Wylie, 75.

    Her partner of 18 years was killed with a lethal dose of the barbiturate Nembutal at his Cammeray home in Sydney in 2006.

    The former Qantas pilot, who had Alzheimer's disease, was rejected for a legally assisted suicide in Switzerland months before his death, on cognitive grounds.

    Jenning, who was suffering terminal breast cancer, was convicted of being an accessary before the fact of manslaughter, but killed herself last month.

    Justice Howie said the case, which he was told was unique in the English speaking world, had received wide publicity but had been misinterpreted by many people as a test case related to euthanasia.

    "The simple fact is that this was a serious crime and it has nothing to do with a person's right to take his or her own life - quite the contrary," he said.

    In order to assess the criminality of Justins, the judge said he had to determine the role of each of the women.

    "It seems to me this may be one of those extremely rare cases where the culpability of the accessary was more than the culpability of the principle," he said.

    The judge said he was not persuaded that the fact Justins now had a manslaughter conviction was enough of a deterrent to other people contemplating what she did.

    But he was not "necessarily of the view" that a full time custodial sentence needed to be imposed.

    He referred to the degree of planning involved, to Justins' keeping Mr Wylie away from his usual doctors, and depriving his daughters of the chance to say goodbye to their father.

    Mark Tedeschi QC, for the crown, told the judge the crown accepted Justins was primarily motivated by doing what Mr Wylie would have wanted.

    "We concede she had ... a desire to put his suffering to an end," he said.

    Justins' barrister Peter Bodor QC submitted she should not receive a full time jail term, telling the judge all Mr Wylie wanted "was a dignified death before he wasted away".

    His two daughters, Tania Shakespeare and Nicola Dumbrel, both wept on Friday as they told the judge of the suffering brought on by their father's death.

    They said they were betrayed by those who were supposed to be looking after their father, whom they did not get a chance to farewell.

    Mr Bodor tendered another victim impact statement from Mr Wylie's sister, Dulcie Parsons, who spoke of the sense of tremendous loss resulting from his death.

    But she said: "I know his peaceful death is what he desperately wanted".

    Justice Howie will sentence Justins on November 12.

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  8. #48
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    Default Weekends in jail for euthanasia partner

    November 12, 2008






    A woman convicted of the manslaughter of her partner, an Alzheimer's sufferer, after helping him take a lethal dose of a drug has been sentenced to 22 months in weekend detention.

    Justins, 60, was last month found guilty in the Supreme Court of the manslaughter of Graeme Wylie, 75.

    Mr Wylie, her partner of 18 years, was killed with a lethal dose of the veterinary drug Nembutal at his Cammeray home in Sydney in March 2006.

    Justins will be released on parole in September 2010.

    Her friend, Caren Jenning, a euthanasia advocate, was convicted of being an accessory before the fact of manslaughter.

    Jenning, 75, who had terminal breast cancer, killed herself using the same drug in September.

    The two women said they were helping Mr Wylie fulfil his wish to die.

    In October, Justice Roderick Howie said he was affected by the statements of Mr Wylie's daughters, who had cried in court when they described how their father's sudden death deprived them of a chance to say goodbye.

    While the Crown prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi, QC, said the prosecution did not push for Justins to serve a full-time prison term, Justice Howie said he was certain he would impose some punishment, possibly prison, when he sentenced her.

    Justins did not show any emotion when the sentence was handed down, and did not say anything as she left the court.

    In his sentencing today, Justice Howie said Jenning was the dominant of the two women. She drove the option of obtaining the Nembutal in Mexico, where it is legal.

    Jenning also wanted to get the drug for herself and, the jury found, knew that Mr Wylie could no longer decide for himself that he wanted to die, Justice Howie said.

    Justins, however, was motivated by the belief her partner of 17 years wanted to die and she did not realise the extent to which he lacked mental capacity, he said.

    But he said a message had to be sent to the community that this was a crime and not a conviction to be worn as a badge of honour.

    Justins had to be sentenced to time in prison to send this message, he said.

    But because of her prior good character and because she was unlikely to offend again, weekend detention was an adequate punishment.

    Mr Wylie's daughter Tania Shakespeare said today that she was pleased with the sentence and said Justins had deceived her father and the entire family.

    "I didn't have an opportunity to say goodbye," she said.

    "He didn't have a dignified death."

    Outside the court, Exit International founder Philip Nitschke applauded the "lenient sentence".

    The message for people who might want to kill themselves was to plan ahead and not involve loved ones who stood to pay the price, he said.

    Jenning's daughter, Kate Jennings , said her mother spent her entire life helping others and would have accepted being portrayed as the mastermind of Mr Wylie's death if it helped Justins get a lighter sentence.

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