Facing trial for assisting suicide

  Gail O'Rorke leaves Dublin District Court yesterday after she was sent forward for trial at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Picture: Collins Courts

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 in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the country.

Bernadette Forde, from Morehampton Mews, in Dublin, was in the final stages of multiple sclerosis and had been found dead at her apartment on June 6, 2011. A coroner’s inquest into the cause of her death has been adjourned.

Gail O’Rorke, from Kilcare Gardens, Tallaght, was yesterday charged under section 2 of the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993. The charge states it is alleged that between Mar 10 and June 6, 2011, at a location in Dublin, she did aid and abet/counsel/procure the suicide of Ms Forde, who was aged 51.

Det Sgt James Byrne told Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court that Ms O’Rorke was arrested yesterday morning at Donnybrook Garda Station. She replied “not guilty” when the charge was put to her, Det Sgt Byrne said.

State solicitor Ronan O’Brien told Judge Walsh the DPP directed she is to face “trial on indictment”, the book of evidence had already been completed and could be served on her.

Det Sgt Byrne furnished Ms O’Rorke with a copy of the book of evidence and Judge Walsh then made an order sending her forward for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where she will face her next hearing on Dec 13. There was no objection to bail, which the prosecution lawyer said could be set at €100.

Ms O’Rorke stood as the judge gave her the formal warning 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, she replied “yes”.

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


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