WELLINGTON: New Zealand officials said today they were investigating an unspecified number of deaths possibly linked to a Canadian chef accused of marketing “suicide kits” to as many as 40 countries.
Canadian police have charged hotel chef Kenneth Law, 57, with selling a substance over the internet to assist people with suicides.
Britain is also investigating the deaths of 88 people who bought the substances from Canadian websites.
New Zealand’s coroners court said it had “received reports of deaths which are suspected to be linked to the activities of a Canadian man, who has been charged by Canadian police”.
A spokesman for the court would not say how many deaths were being investigated.
“As the matters are now active before the court, no further information is available,” the spokesman said.
Authorities in Canada have filed 14 charges against Law, including 12 announced on Tuesday, over cases in Ontario province.
Canadian police said more than 1,200 packages of a substance normally used as a food additive may have been sent out to more than 40 countries.
As well as the British cases announced last week, parallel investigations are also underway in the US, Italy and Australia.
Law, who worked in a Toronto hotel, was arrested in May and his lawyers say he intends to plead not guilty.
“We’re in the early stages of the procedure but he intends to defend himself,” lawyer Matthew Gourlay told AFP.
Law’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept 27.