13 Feb 2010

Home detention for teenager who assisted suicide

3:40 pm on 13 February 2010

A teenager has been sentenced to eight months' home detention on the rare charge of assisting suicide.

Dillon Gargett, 17, appeared in the High Court at Christchurch after previously pleading guilty to the charge following the death of a 16-year-old boy in September last year.

The boy's body was found by a walker in Bradford Park in Christchurch.

The police summary of facts says Gargett, who was 16 at the time, provided the teenager with equipment used to take his life and helped him prepare it.

Gargett's lawyer, David Ruth, says the charge is uncommon, having previously been used for so-called mercy killings.

"What I think the case highlights," he says, "is the tragedy of young persons who get into such a state of despair that they think that the only way out is suicide.

"The judge referred to the insidious subculture of teenage suicide, and that's a comment with which I agree wholeheartedly."

Mr Ruth says his client now realises it is possible to get over periods of depression and regrets that the deceased did not have the chance to do so.