Topics:  assisted suicide, court of appeal, crime, drugs, heroin, murder

Killer who helped two drug addicts die loses another appeal

A SUNSHINE Coast man, who is serving life in jail after helping kill two heroin addicts 13 years ago, has lost yet another appeal.

Stephen Wayne Carter has twice been convicted for murdering Gail Marke through a lethal injection of heroin at her Tewantin unit, the second conviction after the Queensland Court of Appeal ordered a retrial.

He had pleaded guilty to aiding Patrick Smyth in killing himself the same way.

Carter has always argued the pair wanted to die and had asked him to help them.

The trio drove to Nambour on March 16, 2000, to pick up the drugs before returning to Tewantin to inject the drugs.

Carter unsuccessfully sought a pardon from the Queensland Governor and then launched a review of the Attorney-General's decision not to refer his case to the appeal court or "exercise the prerogative of mercy in his favour".

The Court of Appeal, in a judgment handed down on Friday, found Carter could not extend the time to appeal an Attorney-General decision because there was no argument for miscarriage of justice.

Justice Margaret White said there were sound reasons for Carter's actions amounting to murder.

She said a person who desired to kill another might readily employ the "assist suicide" argument when murder was intended.

Justice White said this could be against the wish of the victim or a frail or elderly patient might be "persuaded" it would be better to die.

"If an accused person causes the death of another they have killed that person," she said.

"Consent ... is irrelevant to the criminal responsibility of such an accused.

"To hold otherwise would be contrary to the fundamental underpinning of this part of the criminal law: that a human life is valuable.

"Accordingly, to kill someone by a positive act, with the requisite intention, even though that person expressed a desire to die, is murder."



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