Quebec man acquitted of assisted suicide
Stephane Dufour, 30, was found not guilty in assisting the hanging suicide death of his uncle, Chantal Maltais, 49, of Alma, Que. Although he initially denied even being in the room with his uncle at the time of his arrest, Dufour told the court he gave into pressure to help Maltais commit suicide. Family members who talked to the press when Maltais died in 2006, said he was wheelchair bound and too weak to even lift a cigarette to his mouth. Michel Boudreault, Dufour’s lawyer, however, told Canadian Press, “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.”
When the trial began, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition executive director Alex Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews.com: “I am concerned that lawyers are testing the limits of the law with an intent of not only defending their client, but also to simply challenge the law.”
During the trial, Dufour claimed to have been repeatedly asked by the victim to assist in ending his life: “He was harassing me all the time. I couldn’t take it any more.” For this reason, Schadenberg said the case is not precedent-setting on the issue of euthanasia or assisted suicide because Dufour might not have had the intention of breaking the law or the mental capacity to intend to participate in his uncle’s death. Dufour told the jury that he tied a choke chain to a rope and pole in the bedroom; two days later, Maltais was found hanged there.