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Encouraging suicide or committing manslaughter?

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Jennifer Morant, 56, died of carbon monoxide poisoning in her car in November 2014. Last month, a jury found her husband, Graham Morant, 69, guilty of two crimes under section 311 of Queensland’s Criminal Code Act 1889: counselling her to commit suicide, and aiding her to do so. He had repeatedly encouraged Jennifer to commit suicide (counselling), and had even driven her to a hardware store to purchase the equipment she used to kill herself (aiding).

Jennifer Morant suffered from chronic illnesses, including depression, anxiety and back pain. But this was not a case where a loving husband helped his terminally-ill wife to end her suffering. Instead, the Court found that Morant had been motivated by greed, and that the self-styled religious leader wanted access to the $1.4 million from his wife’s life insurance policies so he could build a religious retreat.

Read more: Could long-distance bullies in Australia face up to 20 years in jail for encouraging suicide?

Justice Peter Davis of the Supreme Court of Queensland sentenced Morant to ten years in prison. He is believed to be the first person in Australia to be sentenced for counselling suicide.

The maximum penalty for this offence in Queensland is life, but in some other jurisdictions can be as low as five years’ imprisonment - so the same offence in NSW or Victoria would attract a much lighter penalty.

Morant was aware his wife was thinking about killing herself, and encouraged and helped her to do so, according to the Supreme Court of........

© The Conversation