‘Dr Death’ appoints lawyers before risque Fringe show

A medic dubbed “Dr Death” has appointed Scottish lawyers amid concerns his Edinburgh Fringe show about assisted suicide could breach Scots law.

‘Dr Death’ appoints lawyers before risque Fringe show

Dr Philip Nitschke, 67, a right-to-die campaigner who pioneered a short-lived euthanasia law in Australia, will demonstrate an assisted-dying device and tell satirical euthanasia anecdotes at his Fringe show Dicing With Dr Death.

Dr Nitschke was questioned under caution by Metropolitan Police upon his recent entry to the UK amid concerns about the content of his show.

With just two weeks to go until his show opens at The Caves in Edinburgh, the medic yesterday appointed Scottish lawyers to ensure it does not breach the law on advising, counselling or assisting others to commit suicide.

Anti-euthanasia group Care Not Killing has urged Police Scotland and the Crown Office to take a close look at the show.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who piloted the recently-defeated Assisted Suicide Bill through Holyrood, welcomed Dr Nitschke to Scotland provided his show is conducted “in a sensitive and respectful manner”.

Dr Nitschke said: “Obviously, we have to travel quite close to the edge, certainly the edge of the law if not necessarily the edge of good taste.

“The edge of the law is the reason the Metropolitan Police wanted to talk to me about the show, because giving information about these sorts of drugs can be construed as being in breach of the law which prohibits advising, counselling or assisting... We will be asking people attending the show to sign disclaimers for that very reason.

“The Metropolitan Police started by saying they want to have a chat about a show I was running in England, but that ended up being a cautioned interview.

“The Director of Public Prosecutions must have been satisfied because they contacted my lawyers saying they had no reason at this stage to take this any further, so we are feeling a bit more comfortable.

“My lawyers provided me with Scottish lawyers this morning and I will ask their specific advice on that issue.”

Dr Nitschke says he has some “amusing and certainly entertaining” anecdotes from his 20-years in assisted dying: “One person asked me for the best euthanasia drug available but I told him that it had been taken out of the hands of doctors and handed over to vets.

“His wife took me aside and said: ’I don’t ever want my husband to know this as he is a sick and dying man, but I had an affair with a vet and he owes me a bloody big favour, so I’m going to call him in’.

“Unsurprisingly, he was one of the few people who was able to get a hold of this drug from a vet.”

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