According to the Winnipeg Free Press a 44 year old man has been charged in connection with his wife’s suicide. The man has been charged with criminal negligence causing death. According to several different news sources the police have said that the man’s wife had repeatedly threatened to kill herself. On the evening in question the man left the house and returned the next morning to find his wife had over dosed on pills. Allegedly he waited before calling 911 after discovering his wife’s body. Constable Jason Michalyshen was quoted in the Metro as saying ”actions or lack thereof allegedly contributed to her death ” but would not say exactly how long he had waited before calling police.
This is not the first case of men being charged in connection with their wife’s suicide. In June 2006, a man was charged after he stepped out of the way of his wife’s minivan and she drove it off the side of a cliff. And in 2001 a man was charged with his wife’s suicide after she killed himself with his gun that police said was too accessible to her after returning home from a psychiatric hospital.
This is certainly a case I am going to be watching closely. Not just because it’s taking place in my hometown but also because it has the potential to set a precedence on what seems to be a slippery slope. What happens if someone doesn’t take the person who threatens to harm themselves seriously because they do this on a daily basis? Will they face prosecution?
This has the potential to put an interesting spin on the bystander effect. Should those who stand by and watch someone get beat be prosecuted? Or what about the group that watches a drunk women leave with a man? Will they too be prosecuted for criminal negligence? I believe we all have moral obligations to report such incidents to police, and get others help when they are clearly crying out for it… but a legal responsibility? I am just not so sure on this one. I’ll have to do some thinking (and researching). In any case I’ll be watching to see what kind of details are released on this case.