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The French Legal Connection

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Currently the term “assisted suicide” is much in vogue as the pros and cons of Euthanasia are argued.
In French, “assist” has the connotation of being a spectator, not a helper. Section 179 of the Crimes Act does not refer to “assisting” a suicide but to “aiding and abetting” one. However, as many of my octogenarian acquaintances will confirm, though they merely observed their loved one commit suicide, the Police and Judiciary invariably prefer to confuse the French and English meaning of “assist” and seek to pursue them for “aiding” the suicide even though they only were witnessing the event.
The infrequently used French word “recuse” is one used here only in the legal profession. It is something that Judges here often fail to do to themselves when they have a personal interest in a case they are handling, as I know to my cost!
The Judicial Conduct Commissioner of course excuses himself from condemning Judges who fail to “recuse” themselves when they should, presumably on the basis that so few in society know what the word means.

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