Woman (42) to face trial over suicide death of MS sufferer
A WOMAN is to stand trial charged with assisting the suicide of a multiple sclerosis sufferer, in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the country.
Gail O'Rorke, of Kilclare Gardens, in Tallaght, south Dublin, is accused of helping multiple sclerosis sufferer Bernadette Forde (51) kill herself at her home in Donnybrook, south Dublin, between March 10 and June 6, 2011.
Ms O'Rorke (42) was charged under Section 2 of the Criminal Law (suicide) Act 1993.
A coroner's inquest into the cause of her death has been adjourned.
The charge states it is alleged that between March 10 and June 6, 2011, at a location in Dublin, she did aid and abet/counsel/procure the suicide of Bernadette Forde.
Detective Sergeant 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 that the DPP had directed that the 42-year-old woman was to face "trial on indictment" – the book of evidence had 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 the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where she will face her next hearing on December 13.
There was no objection to bail which the prosecution lawyer said could be set at €100.
Ms 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.
Judge Walsh agreed to a request from defence solicitor Dara Robinson to grant legal aid to the woman, who was then remanded on bail.
In Ireland, a conviction for assisted suicide can carry a sentence of up to 14 years.