A Dublin woman has been acquitted by direction of the trial judge on two charges of assisting the suicide of another woman.
However, Gail O’Rorke remains on trial on a single charge of attempting to assist a suicide by making arrangements to travel to Zurich with her friend where she wanted to end her life.
The 43-year-old from Kilclare Gardens in Tallaght had denied aiding and abetting the suicide of her friend Bernadette Forde in June 2011.
After legal argument at the close of the prosecution's case, Judge Pat Mc Cartan told the jury he had come to the conclusion that Ms O’Rorke had no case to answer on the two charges of assisting a suicide as there was insufficient evidence.
Ms Forde, who had suffered with primary progressive multiple sclerosis for ten years, ended her life by taking a lethal dose of medication bought on the internet.
She had made arrangements to travel to the Dignitas clinic in Zurich to end her life but the plan had to be abandoned after a travel agent alerted gardaí.
Ms O'Rorke, her friend and carer, was warned by gardaí it would be an offence to travel with her friend to Zurich.
She was later charged with attempting to assist a suicide for making the travel arrangements.
Following Ms Forde's death in June 2011, Ms O'Rorke was charged with aiding and abetting the suicide by assisting in the procurement and administration of a toxic substance.
She was not present when Ms Forde took the lethal dose of medication but the prosecution said she had helped to procure it by making a money transfer to Mexico.
She was further charged with procuring a suicide by making funeral arrangements two days before Ms Forde's death.
However, Judge McCartan ruled there was insufficient evidence on the charges of assisting the suicide and directed the jury to find her not guilty on both charges relating to the toxic substance and making funeral arrangements.
He allowed the charge of attempting to assist a suicide by making travel arrangements to continue for consideration by the jury.
In closing arguments for the prosecution, Remy Farrell said Ms O’Rorke was instrumental in organising a trip to Zurich for Bernadette Forde to end her life.
He said they had to consider if her actions amounted to an attempt in law.
The test was not whether or not a suicide had actually taken place on that occasion.
The test was whether or not her actions in Ireland constituted an attempt to assist in a suicide.
He said the jury was in a very special position but it did not get to determine what the law is or what the law should be.
He said everything Ms O’Rorke did, she did out of loyalty and the prosecution was not suggesting for one moment that she did otherwise.
However, he said the jury did not have the luxury of saying the law is an ass and we do not agree with it.
He said they must decide the case in accordance with the evidence.
He said it may well be a very difficult task but they had a duty in respect of the evidence which was wholly uncontroversial.
If they accepted the facts amounted to attempt to assist then they must bring in a guilty verdict even if they did not feel good about it, he said.
He added that a guilty verdict was the only one available on the evidence.
In closing arguments for the defence, senior counsel Dermot McGuinness told the members of the jury they had heard the most compelling evidence on the purest of motives.
"What the prosecution is saying is that you should take this exceptionally good woman and criminalise her for making travel arrangements. To stamp her with a guilty verdict in circumstances where she did not know it was an offence" he said.
He reminded the jury of the "incredibly moving" last words of Ms Forde which she had recorded on tape and said they as ordinary people were best suited to determine our community standards.
He said the jury would have to decide if Ms O'Rorke's conduct in making travel arrangements which were later canceled represented a criminal attempt in breach of the law.
Her actions could not amount to an attempted offence , they were merely preparatory steps, he said.
He said the jury was now being asked to criminalise the making of travel arrangements.
"Did you ever think you could enter a travel agents and end up in a courtroom? Can you believe it?"
He said if Ms Forde had gone to a taxi rank and taken a taxi to the airport, telling the driver where she was bound and why, could the taxi driver be criminalised?
The same applied to a porter or anyone else who might help, he said.
He said Ms Forde had a right to travel. It was another tragedy that she could not exercise that right.
He urged the jury to write not guilty on the issue paper when they come to consider a verdict on Monday.
"Write the words 'not guilty' and send her home," he said.
The jury will begin deliberating on Monday after Judge McCartan addresses them on the law.