Kitchener-Waterloo

MP Harold Albrecht critical of U.S. court ruling on woman's suicide

Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht has criticized a U.S. court ruling overturning the conviction of a man accused of helping Carleton University student Nadia Kajouji commit suicide in Ottawa in 2008.

William Melchert-Dinkel conviction quashed in Canadian case, upheld for British suicide

William Melchert-Dinkel, centre, at Rice County Courthouse in Faribault, Minn., on Feb. 17, 2011, with his attorney Terry Watkins, right, and wife, Joyce. Melchert-Dinkel's conviction of aiding 2008 suicide of Nadia Kajouji in Ottawa was quashed. (Robb Long/Associated Press)

Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht has criticized a U.S. court ruling overturning the conviction of William Melchert-Dinkel, who was accused of helping a woman commit suicide in Ottawa in 2008.

"The decision of an appeals court that reversed the conviction of Melchert-Dinkel who had been previously convicted of assisting in the suicide of Nadia Kajouji is a further indication of our devaluation of human life," Albrecht said in a release Tuesday.

On Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that there could be no conviction of former nurse William Melchert-Dinkel for attempting to assist the 2008 suicide of Carleton University student Nadia Kajouji. The court did affirm there was sufficient evidence to convict him of assisting the 2005 suicide of Mark Drybrough, of Coventry, England.

The court ruled Melchert-Dinkel gave the British man detailed instructions on how to hang himself. But because Melchert-Dinkel didn't give specific instructions to Kajouji, who jumped off a bridge in Ottawa, he did not directly "assist" in the suicide.

"To allow Melchert-Dinkel off on the technicality that Kajouji did not follow his specific instructions to her death, is a sad commentary on our commitment to justice," Albrecht said.

Authorities have said that Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and hanging, and that he sought out potential victims online, posing as a female nurse and feigning compassion.

In the previous federal Conservative government, Albrecht co-chaired an all-party committee on palliative care that also looked into suicide prevention.

"While nothing will restore Nadia's life," Albrecht's release stated, "at least there was some solace in the fact that a strong deterrent message had been sent to Melchert-Dinkel and other potential predators."