It is possible for an assisted suicide clinic to open in London thanks to last year’s prosecution guidelines, a euthanasia campaigner wrongly claimed on the BBC last night.
Watch Dr Nitschke speaking on BBC Wales
He was speaking to BBC Wales about his workshop tour of the UK.
He was asked whether he was worried that a vulnerable, depressed person may be encouraged to kill themselves after attending one of his workshops.
He tried to evade the question, but when pressed on the point he said: “It’s a risk we’re willing to take”.
New prosecution guidelines were published last year by Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales, Keir Starmer QC.
They were produced following pressure from the pro-euthanasia lobby, but Mr Starmer made clear that the law had not changed and reminded people that assisted suicide remains illegal.
The guidelines list the factors to be considered when deciding whether a prosecution is “in the public interest”.
Mr Starmer said: “The policy does not change the law on assisted suicide. It does not open the door for euthanasia. It does not override the will of Parliament.”
Four UK venues have now cancelled Dr Nitschke’s suicide workshops, leaving only London, scheduled for this Saturday.
The Community Arts Forum in Belfast had no idea that Dr Philip Nitschke was going to explain how his ‘death machine’ worked until they received a press release, prompting them to scrap the event.
Two venues in Eastbourne pulled out when they realised who he was and only eight people attended his Dublin workshop.
And last night, the Quaker Meeting House in Cardiff banned Dr Nitschke from having his workshop at their premises or demonstrating his ‘death machine’ there in any way, although he was allowed to hold a public meeting.
In preparing for the UK part of his tour, Dr Nitschke originally booked the Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club in Eastbourne, but they cancelled his booking when they discovered what he was planning to speak on.
The club said it wanted to avoid the publicity of “something this controversial”.
The doctor then tried to book the Under Ground Theatre in the seaside town, but they too backed out.
Heather Floyd of the Community Arts Forum in Belfast said that the Forum’s decision to cancel Dr Nitschke’s workshop was made after “careful consideration” of the nature of the event.
“The first we heard about the death machine was through a press release that was sent to us. After careful consideration we decided our venue was not suitable for such a high profile event,” she said.
“We also felt it was not suitable for something of this nature.”
Dr Nitschke attained notoriety in Australia in the mid-1990s when he was responsible for the deaths of four individuals who used his euthanasia machine.
Assisted suicide was legal in the country’s Northern Territory for a nine month period from 1996 to 1997.
Dr Nitschke’s London suicide workshop is due to take place on Saturday afternoon at Dragon Hall, 17 Stukely Street.