Two more people have been arrested, for providing very nominal ‘assistance’ to someone going to Switzerland to die.
A 47-year-old woman and a 48-year-old man, both from South Shields in England’s north-east, have been arrested on suspicion of intentionally doing an act to assist or encourage suicide, following the death of Douglas Sinclair, a 76-year-old man with multiple system atrophy, who travelled with them to a Dignitas clinic in Zurich where Mr Sinclair died on 28 July this year. Both have been bailed pending further inquiries.
Mr Sinclair had told his lawyers that he feared his condition was deteriorating to a stage where he would no longer be able to physically get himself across to Switzerland to attend the clinic.
No one has been prosecuted for aiding suicide since new guidelines were issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions last February. These put greater emphasis on motive. A death notice in a local newspaper said Mr Sinclair died ‘peacefully and with dignity’. But his final moments were recorded on a DVD which has now been seized by police as they investigate circumstances surrounding his death. The footage shows Douglas Sinclair drinking a lethal cocktail of drugs before turning to the camera, smiling and giving a thumbs up sign.
Unlikely as prosecutions are, it is a harrowing experience to be arrested. The police are still bound to gather evidence and submit it to the DPP and it is then up to the DPP to decide whether to prosecute – which may take months.
A majority of Swiss people favour allowing assisted suicide in the country, but oppose the use of the service by visiting foreigners, a poll released last Thursday showed.
Some 60 per cent of respondents in the poll conducted by the University of Zurich said they would approve of a physician administering a fatal dose to a terminally ill cancer patient. About 70 per cent of people favoured allowing overdoses of sedatives that would reduce the lifespan of those with incurable cancer. However, some two-thirds of respondents said they oppose ‘suicide tourism.’ This could have implications for Brits, as
Germans and British citizens tend to make up the majority of non-residents who travel to Switzerland to end their lives when suffering from a terminal illness becomes too great.
Pensioner filmed his suicide The Chronicle
Two arrested over assisted suicide Guardian
Two friends’ are arrested after pensioner dies in the Dignitas clinic Daily Mail
Pensioner gave thumbs up moments before suicide Telegraph
Swiss favour assisted suicide, but not for foreigners Earth Times
Dignitas promises pleasant final stay at its suicide hotel Evening Standard