Doctor that euthanized Tine Nys to face a retrial

The doctor that carried out euthanasia on a 38-year-old woman from the East Flemish town of Sint-Niklaas is to face a retrial. At a session held on Tuesday the Court of Cassation in Brussels quashed an early ruling by the Court of Assis in Ghent (East Flanders) to acquit Dr. Joris Van Hove. At the start of the year Dr. Van Hove was acquitted after a jury trial at the court. 

Tine Nys was given euthanasia in 2010 to release her from her psychological suffering. Her family didn’t agree with the decision to euthanize her and took legal action. The case was heard by the Court of Assis in Ghent the court ruled that Dr. Johan Van Hove should be acquitted. However, now the Court of Cassation has quashed this ruling as it says insufficient motivation was given.  

The Court of Assis verdict came at 1am on 31 January this year. Dr. Van Hove and two other doctors that had carried out the euthanasia process on Ms Nys almost a decade earlier were acquitted by the jury of having poisioned her. However, now the acquittal of Dr. Van Hove has been quashed and he will have to be tried again.  The trial will be a civil trial and if found guilty Dr. Van Hove will have to pay compensation to the plaintiffs.

As the Public Prosecutors’ Office believed that Dr. Van Hove and his two colleagues had breached the law on euthanasia when they helped Tine Nys to die on 27 April 2010 the case was brought to the Court of Assis in Ghent. 

It was not the first time that the case had been put before a court. Previously, one of Tine Nys’ sister had been a plaintiff in a case against the doctors that came before Dendermonde (East Flanders) magistrates in 2016. They decided that the doctors had no case to answer. However, the plaintiffs appealed. 

At the end of 2018 the Public Prosecutors’ Office sent the case to Ghent. It was the first time since the euthanasia law was passed in 2002 that doctors that had carried out euthanasia had stood trial. 

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