herald

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Woman facing first assisted suicide trial

Accused: Gail O'Rorke. Photo: Collins
Accused: Gail O'Rorke. Photo: Collins

A 42-YEAR-OLD woman is to stand trial charged with assisting in the suicide of a multiple sclerosis sufferer in Dublin two years ago.

Bernadette Forde (51), of Morehampton Mews, Donnybrook, was in the final stages of multiple sclerosis and was found dead at her apartment on June 6, 2011.

A coroner's inquest into the cause of her death has been adjourned.

Yesterday Gail O'Rorke, of Kilcare Gardens, Tallaght, was charged under Section 2 of the Criminal Law (suicide) Act 1993 in what is believed to be the first attempted prosecution of its kind.

 

Arrested

The charge states that between March 10 and June 6, 2011, at a location in Dublin, she aided and abetted/counselled/procured the suicide of Bernadette Forde.

Det Sergeant James Byrne told Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court O'Rorke was arrested yesterday at Donnybrook Garda station.

He said she replied "not guilty" when the charge was put to her.

State solicitor Ronan O'Brien told Judge Walsh that the DPP had directed that O'Rorke is to face "trial on indictment", the book of evidence had already been completed and could be served on her.

Det Sgt Byrne furnished the woman with a copy of the book of evidence and Judge Walsh then made an order sending her forward for trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for her next hearing on December 13.

There was no objection to bail which the prosecution lawyer said could be set at €100.

 

Warning

O'Rorke stood up as the judge gave her the formal warning that if she intended to use an alibi in her defence, she must give the details in writing to the prosecution within 14 days.

When asked if she understood this caution, she replied, "yes".

The judge then agreed to a request from defence solicitor Dara Robinson to grant legal aid to the woman, who was remanded on bail.

A conviction for assisted suicide can carry a sentence of up to 14 years.

hnews@herald.ie

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