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Family appeals euthanasia court decision

17:52 18/02/2020
From Flanders Today

The siblings of Tine Nys, who died 10 years ago after requesting euthanasia, are appealing the case they fought in court last month. The case involved a criminal trial against three doctors, but a successful appeal would only mean a new civil case for damages.

Nys received euthanasia for psychological suffering in 2010, a few months after requesting the procedure from her family doctor. According to her siblings, the requirements for carrying out euthanasia were not followed by the two physicians and psychologist who approved the procedure.

The public prosecutor put the three doctors on trial for murder, and all three were acquitted by a jury in the court of assizes in Ghent last month. The public prosecutor is not appealing that decision to the Cassation Court, the highest court in Belgium. That means that the three doctors would not face criminal charges again.

The siblings, however, are appealing the judgement to try to win damages. They allege that the doctors did not follow procedures required by the euthanasia law in Belgium.

If the Cassation Court agrees, it will send the case back to assizes, at which point a civil case would begin against the doctors. If found guilty, they would face fines for damages.

“We are of the opinion that this was an unlawful judgement,” the Nys lawyer said. “It is clear that euthanasia regulations were not respected, but there is nothing about that in the judgement. We will show this in cassation and hope that the judgment will be annulled.”

It is expected to be a few months before the Cassation Court submits a ruling on the case.

Photo: Tine Nys’s brother and sisters during the trial in Ghent in January
©James Arthur Gekiere

Written by Flanders Today