A Canadian man has appeared in court in his home country after allegedly selling lethal substances to assist people across the world with suicide – including in the UK.
Kenneth Law, 57, was arrested in Ontario and charged with two counts of counselling and aiding suicide after allegedly selling 1,200 packages to 40 countries.
The National Crime Agency said it had launched its own probe into the deaths of 88 people in the UK who bought products from Canada-based websites selling substances to assist with suicide.
Law is also being investigated by police in the United States, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.
On Friday, the defendant appeared briefly in court in Brampton, Ontario, before the hearing was adjourned to September 8.
In total, 272 individuals in the UK were identified as having purchased products from the websites in a two-year period up to April 2023.
The NCA said 88 of those people have died.
The law enforcement agency added that “at this early stage there are no confirmed links between the items purchased from the websites and cause of death in any of these cases”.
National Crime Agency deputy director Craig Turner said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the loved ones of those who have died. They are being supported by specially trained officers from police forces.
“In consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, the NCA has taken the decision to conduct an investigation into potential criminal offences committed in the UK. This operation is under way.”
– Anyone who needs support can call Samaritans free of charge on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website.