Nurse Walks Free After Convictions Related To Parents'
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 23, 2005
LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA--A nurse who admitted trying to help both her parents to die walked free after being convicted of the crimes Wednesday.
On Monday, a jury found Catherine Anne Pryor, 42, guilty of attempted murder when she injected insulin into her 75-year-old mother, Anne Grant in March 2003. Mrs. Grant, who had dementia, went into a hypoglycemic coma before paramedics revived her. She died four months later from unrelated causes.
Pryor had also pleaded guilty to helping her father to kill himself with an injection of insulin, then tying a plastic bag over his head until he died in November 2003. Dr. Peter Grant reportedly had terminal cancer.
In Australia, assisting in a suicide is a crime punishable by up to 21 years in prison.
Tasmanian Supreme Court Acting Justice Michael Hill on Wednesday sentenced Pryor to 18 months for the attempted murder and 12 months for the assisted suicide. Hill then suspended both sentences and had Pryor released.
"This is not a case, in my view, of an opportunistic criminal act for selfish motives," Hill explained.
"I do not think the community would demand that an actual period of imprisonment be imposed," he added.
Euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke said the sentences showed that lawmakers need to change the laws to make assisted suicide legal.
Pryor announced Wednesday that she would appeal the assisted murder charge.
Many disability groups have opposed legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia or "mercy killing". Such laws, they argue, further devalue the lives of people who have disabilities and who are already vulnerable.
"Woman walks free after father's death" (Townsville Bulletin)
"Nurse set to appeal over conviction" (The Examiner)