Australian jailed for assisting in suicide

An Australian man was jailed for three years Thursday after helping an elderly friend kill himself by providing him with an animal anaesthetic he bought in Mexico.

Merin Nielsen, 50, was convicted by the Supreme Court in Brisbane of aiding the suicide of Frank Ward, 76, in June 2009.

While Australia's Northern Territory introduced the world's first voluntary euthanasia legislation in 1995, it was overturned by the federal government and remains a crime in the country.

However, prosecutions are rare.

The court heard that Nielsen travelled to Mexico to buy a fatal dose of the veterinary anaesthetic sedalphorte, also known as nembutal, which is not available in Australia, the Brisbane Courier-Mail reported.

Nielsen admitted travelling to Tijuana at Ward's request but said he changed his mind and did not purchase the drug, telling police he found on his return that Ward had obtained the anaesthetic from someone else.

However, Justice Jean Dalton said it was clear the jury rejected Nielsen's story.

Dalton questioned his motive, saying he was Aus$12,000 (US$12,800) in debt, had power of attorney over Ward's assets and was the beneficiary of his will.

Nielsen's barrister argued that his client had been like an adopted son to Ward, who had and and was a member of well-known euthanasia Exit International.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Australia bans euthanasia advert

Sep 14, 2010

Australian euthanasia advocates Tuesday vowed to press ahead with their television and billboard advertising campaign, despite their first screen advert being rejected.

Anesthetic gases heat climate as much as 1 million cars

Dec 03, 2010

When doctors want their patients asleep during surgery they gently turn the gas tap. But Anaesthetic gasses have a global warming potential as high as a refrigerant that is on its way to being banned in the ...

Recommended for you

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.