Canadian faces 14 murder charges after allegedly posting suicide kits

Kenneth Law also sent at least 1,200 packages to 40 countries, including Ireland, police say

A Canadian man who allegedly helped more than a dozen young people across the province of Ontario kill themselves by mailing them poison has been charged with 14 counts of second degree murder, police said on Tuesday.

Kenneth Law (58), had previously been charged with 14 counts of counseling or aiding suicide.

Police said Law posted about 160 packages of sodium nitrite to people in Canada and also sent at least 1,200 packages to addresses in more than 40 countries, including Ireland.

"It's clearly significant ... to be laying this many (charges) and that's not taken lightly by the investigative team," Inspector Simon James of the police force in York, a northern district of Toronto, told a televised press conference.


The victims ranged in age from 16 to 36 but Insp James declined to name them or explain why the charges had been upgraded. He also said he did not know how many people abroad might have died.

“We continue to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and collaborate with them globally,” he said.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, citing official records and statements, said Law could be linked to 117 deaths around the world, most of them in Britain. It said authorities in Ireland, New Zealand, France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland all confirmed Law shipped packages to their countries.

Law, who police alleged used a number of websites to reach his victims, is in jail and will made his next court appearance on December 19th.

“One of the challenges that we face are a number of these sites are located in other countries where Canadian law does not apply,” said Insp James.

Gardaí believe Law sent the kits to more than 10 people in Ireland.

A small number of those, believed to be fewer than five, have since died suddenly. However, it is not yet known if their deaths resulted from consuming the substance they bought from Law.

The substance is not illegal in the Republic. It has a number of legitimate uses, including in industries.

Assisting or abetting a person to end their own life is illegal in the Republic, with a maximum prison sentence of up to 14 years on conviction. However, Garda sources said it would be very difficult to prove a person selling a legal substance, with legitimate uses, was intent on assisting the buyer to end their own life.

- Reuters

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