Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 30, 2006
Man who tried to asphyxiate wife gets probation
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
"This decision devalues the lives of every Canadian with a disability."
- Alex Schadenberg
"If attempting to murder someone with a disability is seen as an act of compassion then all lives of vulnerable Canadians are at risk."
In July 2005, Bergeron tried to asphyxiate his 44-year-old wife with a plastic bag, but called 911 before killing her. She died in hospital three days later. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault causing death.
Bergeron's lawyer told journalists the judgment should send a message to politicians concerning assisted suicide and euthanasia. "(The judge) said it's a crime, and we do have to be very careful with a change in the law," Jean Couture said, according to an Oct. 20 Montreal Gazette story. "But we have to change the law. And I think, with that judgment, she gives a line to the government."
Last January, another Quebec judge handed a similarly lenient sentence to another woman also named Marielle Houle, 60, who pleaded guilty to assisting her son's 2004 suicide. She, too, received three years probation.
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