This story contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
A CASTLEMAINE man who helped his father die by suicide will not be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, a Supreme Court has heard.
Glenn Stratton, 54, appeared in the Bendigo Supreme Court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to a single charge of aiding and abetting suicide.
Stratton's family members told Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth that Stratton was their hero for "bravely" sacrificing his own freedom to carry out his father's wishes.
"This will torment (Glenn) for the rest of his life," Stratton's sister Donna said. "I believe this is punishment enough."
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The court heard in the lead up to the suicide in May this year, Stratton's father Colin's physical health and quality of life had deteriorated.
The 80-year-old had been undergoing years of treatment for terminal bowel cancer and was hospitalised for an overload of fluid in his legs as a result of a heart condition.
On May 24, the 80-year-old man went to a medical centre demanding to see a doctor so he could receive medication for voluntary euthanasia.
When the doctor told him he could start the paperwork but it would take some weeks, Mr Stratton became agitated.
The doctor contacted Glenn Stratton and his sister to come to the medical centre to assist with the process.
The court heard while in a waiting room, one of the workers heard the 80-year-old tell his son that he wanted to die that day and that he would shoot himself if no one would help him.
Glenn Stratton took his father back to their Castlemaine home on the direction of the doctor while his sister stayed at the medical centre.
When they arrived at the property, Colin Stratton told his son to grab a rifle so he could kill himself.
The court heard the 54-year-old tried to convince his father not to follow through with the suicide.
But Stratton eventually agreed to help after his father repeatedly begged him for assistance, saying he would kill himself either way.
Colin Stratton died from a gunshot wound to the head. The court heard the 54-year-old hugged his father and told him he loved him before calling 000.
Stratton was arrested and interviewed at the scene. He confessed to aiding the suicide, telling police he would do anything for his father.
The 54-year-old's brother Searle Stratton told the court his father was the benchmark to which he judged all other men.
"My brother is my new hero," he said. "He sacrificed his freedom in the greatest act of love."
Donna Stratton, Colin's daughter, told the court that she had immense pride and gratitude for her brother Glenn.
"It was the most selfless act that someone could do," she said. "I love my dad. I take solace that he's at peace."
In his statement, Colin Stratton's grandson Daniel Devereaux said no one could ever replace his grandfather.
"He wasn't a rock, he was a mountain," he said. "My Pa was my superman and my hero.
"He always made it clear that he did not want to fade away in a hospital. The health system failed him and would not let him end it on his own terms."
Defence counsel Shane Gardner told the court Colin Stratton had longstanding and entrenched beliefs in voluntary euthanasia, to which Glenn Stratton was aware of as the pair lived together.
Mr Gardner said his client had a "deep and abiding love" for his father and would do anything to help him.
The defence counsel said Stratton had been placed in a difficult predicament, as his father had maintained that he would die regardless of whether his son helped him or not.
"The pressure must have been immense and excruciating," Mr Gardner said.
The lawyer said Stratton's offending was done through a lens of love and mercy, where he had "lots to lose and nothing to gain".
Mr Gardner told the court Stratton confessed to police immediately and was cooperative throughout the investigation.
The defence counsel said his client was in custody for 46 days following his arrest, so he missed his father's funeral and was unable to grieve with his family.
Mr Gardner submitted that Stratton had already received extra-curial punishment, so a good behaviour bond was the most appropriate and just sentence.
Prosecutor Kathryn Hamill told the court while it was conceded that a jail term would be too excessive, a community corrections order was the more appropriate sentence.
Ms Hamill said the order would allow the court to monitor Stratton and ensure he followed conditions like mental health counselling for his PTSD.
Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said while she would not consider any term of imprisonment, she would need time to decide whether a bond or a corrections order was within range.
The case was adjourned to next week. Stratton's bail was extended to his next Supreme Court appearance.
If you or someone you know needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36, or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
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