Friday 22 November 2019

Taxi driver cleared of two charges in assisted suicide case

Gail O'Rorke
Gail O'Rorke

Conor Gallagher

The jury in the trial of a woman accused of helping her friend take her own life has been ordered to find her not guilty on two of the three charges against her due to a lack of evidence.

Following legal argument at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Patrick McCartan ordered the jury to acquit Gail O'Rorke (43) of ordering a lethal dose of barbiturates from Mexico which were later taken by Bernadette Forde (51) to end her life.

The judge also told the jury of six men and six women to find the taxi driver not guilty of "procuring" the suicide of her friend by helping to organise her funeral before her death.

Ms O'Rorke from Kilclare Gardens, Tallaght remains accused of attempting to help Ms Forde get to the Swiss euthanasia clinic Dignitas, a plan that was thwarted when the travel agent alerted gardaí.


Both parties made their closing speeches yesterday.

The defence contend that Ms O'Rorke cannot be guilty of attempting to do something that never happened.

Dermott McGuinness SC asked jurors to "go in there, write the words 'not guilty', come back out and send her home".

He said the prosecution want to criminalise the conduct of "an exceptionally good woman."

"Flying to Switzerland isn't suicide or attempted suicide," he said.

The prosecution has told jurors that they might not feel good about returning a guilty verdict but that it is up to the Oireachtas and not them to decide what is and isn't illegal.

Prosecuting counsel Remy Farrell SC told the jury in his address that the prosecution case "in a nutshell" is that Ms O'Rorke attempted to assist in the suicide of Ms Forde by booking the tickets to Zurich with Rathgar Travel.

"Gail O'Rorke is an exceptionally decent person," Mr Farrell said. "There can be no doubt that everything she did was informed out of loyalty, out of love, for Ms Forde. I want to be entirely clear that the prosecution do not for a moment suggest otherwise."

Counsel said Ms O'Rorke's claim that she did not know she was committing an offence when booking the tickets is not relevant as "ignorance of the law is no excuse."

The jury will begin their deliberations on Monday.

Irish Independent

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