Coup de théâtre at euthanasia trial

It has emerged that the lawyer representing Tine Nys’s family was a member of the commission that later approved her euthanasia.  Lawyer Fernand Keuleneer is representing Tine Nys’s family in a case against three doctors who are accused of poisoning the woman. He will now no longer be able to represent the family at the trial, but the trial will continue.

Euthanasia is legal in Belgium but rules have to be followed.  After the event Nys’s sisters pointed to the letter of the law that states euthanasia on account of psychological suffering is only possible when the patient suffers intolerable suffering and is incurably ill.  They say that in Tine’s case this wasn’t so.

The three doctors are standing trial in Ghent and are charged with poisoning the woman who underwent euthanasia in 2010.  The 38-year-old faced psychological suffering with no prospect of this coming to an end soon. 

But the revelation that the family’s lawyer was a stand-in member of the commission that had to approve the carrying out of the euthanasia after the event has thrown the trial into disarray. Mr Keuleneer insisted that he didn’t have a vote on the commission and hadn’t been directly involved in the case that was presented anonymously.