Mother Will Serve No Jail Time For Assisting In Son's
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 30, 2006
MONTREAL, QUEBEC--A Montreal woman who confessed to assisting in the suicide of her 36-year-old son was sentenced Saturday to three years probation but no time in jail for the crime.
Marielle Houle, 60, could have faced up to 14 years in prison for helping Charles Fariala kill himself on September 24, 2004.
Fariala had been diagnosed two years before his death with multiple sclerosis. A former nursing assistant, Fariala reportedly told friends he did not want to become dependent on others or disabled like many of his former nursing home patients.
Houle confessed last Monday to helping her son, who took a lethal combination of pills, and then covering his head with a plastic bag after he lost consciousness.
Houle's lawyer, Salvatore Mascia, said his client acted out of "unconditional love" and asked for the suspended sentence because of her declining physical, mental and emotional health since the incident. Mascia had said days after her arrest that the case could eventually go to the Supreme Court of Canada to challenge Canadian law that makes assisted suicide and euthanasia illegal.
Many disability groups have opposed efforts to legalize assisted suicide, arguing that such laws would put vulnerable people with certain disabilities at even greater risk.
Diane Rivard, spokesperson with the MS Society of Canada, told the Canadian Press that Fariala's case shows the need for better in-home care and support for people diagnosed with incurable, but livable, conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
"We want people to know that after a diagnosis of MS there is still a good life, an active life," Rivard added.
"Mtl. mom who assisted suicide spared a jail term" (CTV)
"Others in Canada have helped the ill take the final step" (Montreal Gazette)