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Assisted suicide doctor's bail extended – once again

A former GP who was arrested for paying a patient's airfare to the Dignitas clinic has had his bail extended once again, Solicitors Journal has learned.

7 April 2010

Dr Irwin paid for Raymond Cutkelvin’s flight to Zurich, where the 58-year-old took his life at the Dignitas clinic in September 2007.

The former UN doctor was first arrested in July last year but released on police bail.

His bail was extended to November, then to early January this year.

He was due to report to Haringey police station on 6 April but a few days ago he received a call saying bail would be extended yet again.

Mr Cutkelvin’s partner, Alan Rees, who travelled with him to Zurich, was also arrested and released on bail. He too was due to report to Stoke Newington police station on 6 April but was also told his bail would be extended.

On this occasion, Dr Irwin had received confirmation by letter, suggesting that a final decision as to whether to prosecute would be taken.

Neither of the men were given a new date for appearance at the police station, Dr Irwin told Solicitors Journal.

“How long can we wait until we know whether we are charged or not?” he asked.

Only three weeks ago, the CPS decided not to prosecute the children of Sir Edward and Lady Downes, who died at the Dignitas clinic in July last year.

The couple’s son had booked a hotel room for his parents using his own credit card.

In the first case to be considered under the DPP’s final guidance on prosecution in assisted suicide cases, Keir Starmer QC found that Caractacus Downes had been “wholly motivated by compassion” and that booking a hotel room was only an act of “minor assistance” which would not justify prosecution.

Starmer also considered the fact that the former conductor and his wife had made “a voluntary, clear, settled and informed decision to take their own lives”.

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