Posted by: Witch Doctor | January 26, 2010

When does aiding and abetting suicide become murder?


The Witch Doctor is thinking aloud in this post…….

Assuming for the moment Lynn Gilderdale (the daughter) was psychologically competent, then it appears that legally the Director of Public Prosecutions had good reason to bring the additional charge of attempted murder against Bridget Kathleen Gilderdale (the mother) who had already pled guilty of aiding and abetting her daughter’s suicide.

“He said there had been a “realistic prospect” of a conviction as Gilderdale administered morphine and other drugs to her daughter and injected air into her veins after the 31-year-old’s initial suicide attempt appeared to have failed in December 2008.

The trial had been told that Gilderdale crushed up pills and fed them to her daughter through her nasal tube, handed her morphine and injected three syringes of air into her.”


It appears to The Witch Doctor (who is not a lawyer and therefore her legal thinking may be flawed) that in English law :

(a) If an individual gives advice, drugs or other substances or equipment to another psychologically competent individual to help them commit suicide, and the “helper” is aware that the outcome will be suicide, then a charge of assisted suicide is appropriate.

On the other hand,

(b) If an individual administers drugs or other substances directly to another psychologically competent individual in order to bring about that individual’s desire for death, then the charge of murder or attempted murder is appropriate.

It is reported that Bridget Gilderdale admitted to both (a) and (b) when she pled guilty to aiding and abetting her daughter’s suicide.

It seems appropriate therefore that she was charged with attempted murder.

It seems also that she was not charged with murder since it was not possible to tell which activity (a) or (b) was ultimately responsible for her death.

Therefore it seems appropriate that she was not charged with murder.

But there is a problem.

Why then did the jury find her not guilty of attempted murder when she, by her own admission, fulfilled the criteria for attempted murder?

Did the jury not believe her when she said she had injected air into her daughter’s veins and directly administered a cocktail of morphine and other drugs?

Or did the Jury return a verdict of “not guilty” because they knew that the law of the land did not have the capacity to have a kind heart because a minimum sentence was mandatory if they returned a “guilty” verdict?

Did they in fact waive the evidence?

Should a jury have the responsibility, and indeed the right, to waive the evidence because they feel compassion?

Do we require mandatory sentencing?

Do we not trust judges and the appeal system to have a kind heart?

Is the Jury system creeping into something it was never intended to be?

redapple.jpg a red apple ……………………

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