13 Jun 2005

French Polynesian court acquits doctor in euthanasia case

8:29 pm on 13 June 2005

A court in French Polynesia has acquitted a doctor, Leon Law, of charges of euthanasia in the first such case heard in the territory.

At the instigation of the patient's family, the doctor gave a 60-year old man suffering from terminal prostate cancer two potassium chloride injections.

This occurred at a hospital on Raiatea in 1997.

The jury acquitted the doctor but his family has now decided to appeal, saying it wasn't clear that the doctor's action would lead to the man's death.

The Cancer League has deplored the lack of coordinated care for cancer patients and says it's a scandal that the health ministry failed to attend the court case.