Prosecute Me, Says GP Who Helped Euthanasia Patients Patiemts

By Frith, Maxine | The Independent (London, England), June 26, 2004 | Go to article overview
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Prosecute Me, Says GP Who Helped Euthanasia Patients Patiemts


Frith, Maxine, The Independent (London, England)


A RETIRED GP who was arrested on suspicion of helping a terminally- ill friend to kill himself has told The Independent he has advised at least five other people on travelling to the Swiss euthanasia clinic Dignitas.

One of the five, a woman in her 40s with advanced liver failure, killed herself in the clinic's "death room" in November last year. The other four are still alive but have been given information by Dr Michael Irwin on how to join Dignitas, travel to the clinic and obtain the medical reports needed to win approval for their assisted suicides.

Dr Irwin, from Surrey, has challenged the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute him. He says he is willing to risk a possible 14-year jail term in order to test the law on euthanasia in Britain.

"At the moment we have hypocrisy and double standards in this country about assisted suicide," he said. "We have a law against aiding and abetting suicide, and yet people who have travelled with their relatives to Dignitas and helped them to die are not being questioned or prosecuted. I would like to see the law tested on cases where a person is travelling abroad for assisted suicide."

Dr Irwin resigned as chairman of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society in February after he was arrested over the death of his friend Patrick Kneen.

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