Nys family appeals against “illegal ruling” in euthanasia trial

The family of Tine Nys, the woman whose death was the subject of a case brought before the Court of Assizes last month, is to appeal to the Court of Cassation against the verdict in the so-called “euthanasia trial”. As the Public Prosecutors’ Office won’t be appealing, the doctors tried before the Court of Assizes last month can’t be fined or jailed. However, damages could be granted to the Nys family if the Court of Cassation rules in their favour.      

At the end of January a jury at the Court of Assizes in Ghent (East Flanders) found the three doctors involved in the euthanasia of Tine Nys in 2010 not-guilty of death by poisoning.

The family and if it so wished the Public Prosecutor’s Office could only appeal to the Court of Cassation. However, this court never reviews the subject matter of a particular case, but only looks at whether legal procedures have been correctly followed and if the verdict or ruling made by a court is in accordance with the law.   

The Nys family’s solicitor Joris Van Cauter told VRT News that “We are of the opinion that the decision taken was illegal. It is clear that the euthanasia law was not adhered to and this is something that wasn't reflected in the verdict. We will seek to show the Court of Cassation this and hope that the verdict will be quashed”.    

As the Public Prosecutors’ Office has decided not to appeal to the Court of Cassation the doctors’ acquittal cannot be overturned and they won’t face any new criminal proceedings.

If the Court of Cassation rules that the Court of Assizes’ verdict is not correct the doctors could face a civil prosecution that could result in them being forced to pay damages to Tine Nys’ family.

The Court of Cassations’ ruling on the case is expected in a few months.