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Euthanasia case goes to retrial

Case of mother who killed her severely disabled daughter to be heard again today at court of appeal.

A MOTHER who killed her severely mentally and physically disabled daughter will be retried today by the court of appeal of Versailles.

Despite prosecution calls for her to receive a “symbolic” three year suspended sentence, Lydie Debaine, 62, was acquitted by a court in Val d’Oise in April 2008.

A similar case in 1994 of a man who killed his handicapped son also resulted in an acquittal.

Versailles prosecutor Jean-Amédée Lathoud said: “This acquittal could in fact become an encouragement to end the lives of the severely disabled.”

“It appears to me that the actions of Mrs Debaine cannot be accepted by French law, our ethical values and the principles that underlie our society,” he added in a statement.

Mrs Debaine’s lawyer, Caty Richard, who is arguing for a new acquittal, said: “This trial prolongs the pain of my client.

“The acquittal should not be interpreted as a licence to kill, but the recognition of a merciful act.”

“This second trial does not seem unbearable to her, but very close. It’s painful – she misses her daughter terribly but she does not regret ending her suffering.”

Debaine was accused of giving large amounts of anti-anxiety pills to her only daughter Anne-Marie before drowning her in a bath on May 14, 2005.

Anne-Marie Debaine was born premature and severely disabled. She had been cared for in specialist centres between the ages of 6-22 but had to move home to live in 2001 due to a lack of places.

She also suffered from epilepsy and violent seizures.

Photo: Lydie Debaine with lawyer Caty Richard
Credit:Afp/Bertrand Guay

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