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Judge orders jury to clear man of murder after he killed his diabetic father with lethal smoothie

20 November 2017

​Bipin Desai killed his father with an overdose of morphine. Image: Vagner Vidal/INS News Agency Ltd 

He was given a nine-month suspended sentence for assisted suicide.

A High Court Judge has directed a jury to clear a man of murder after he killed his elderly father by putting a lethal dose of morphine into his fruit smoothie. Mr Justice Green said that Bipin Desai had been "wrongfully accused of murder", as his father, Dhirajlal Desai had wanted to die.

The jury had earlier heard how Mr Desai, a chemist, poured the painkiller into a drink for his father, and then later injected him with insulin as he slept.

Uncorroborated account

The judge said the evidence "provides no support for the prosecution case, to the contrary it unequivocally supports the defence position that this is assisted suicide but not murder. In his judgment that the prosecution had insufficient evidence of murder, Mr Justice Green said: "The defendant's evidence in interview was that his father had grown weary of life following the death of his wife, whom he doted upon, in 2003 and the death of his dog, whom he also adored, in 2010...He asked almost every day for help. He said to the defendant that he should get him some Dawa, which Gujarati for medicine, to send him to sleep. He had had a good life, now was the time to see his wife. I reject the prosecution submission that this account is uncorroborated."

He ordered that the murder trial be halted, and handed Mr Desai a nine-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to assisting a suicide. 

"Sending father to heaven"

He said: "Your acts of assistance were acts of pure compassion and mercy. Your father had a solid and firm wish to die. For him, being assisted to die would be fulfilling his wish of going to heaven to see his wife and being put out of his misery."

Dr Anthony McCarthy of SPUC commented, "It is shocking that a High Court Judge in this country should speak with such approval of an adult son who 'sends his father to heaven'. Serious crimes can be 'well-motivated'  and indeed, mentally ill parents who kill their healthy children sometimes also talk of 'sending them to heaven'.  Are we now to believe that the killing of an innocent and vulnerable human being who is 'tired of life'  is not to be regarded as any serious crime?  What now of any respect for laws and investigations which seek to protect the ineliminable value of all human lives, regardless of feelings of sadness and loss on the victim's part which may perhaps respond to loving care and professional help?" 

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