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Philosopher says euthanasia verdict raises questions

As a man walked free yesterday after a Tasmanian judge handed him a suspended sentence for assisting the suicide of his 88 year old mother, Australian Catholic University philosophy school head Dr John Ozolins said the case poses important questions about palliative care.

The man before the court was John Stuart Godfrey, an internationally recognised scientist oceanographer, was found to have acted solely from compassion and love in helping the suicide of his incapacitated and pain-ridden 88-year-old mother, Elizabeth (both pictured).

Godfrey said though assisting suicide was a very difficult issue, he knew of other cases where laws had worsened the distress of elderly people and their families.

But the Hobart Mercury quotes Dr Ozolins' insistence that assisted suicide is morally wrong.

Dr Ozolins told the paper that society needs to consider end-of-life issues, instead of pretending or denying death was part of the life cycle.

He said not coping and wanting to die was a simplistic view of things. People who had reached the end of the life cycle needed help, Dr Ozolins said.

"We have to look at the palliative care issues to prevent the premature ending of someone's life," he said.

Good news or all wrong, depending on your view (The Mercury 27/5/04)
Son freed over mother's suicide help (The Age 27/5/04)

Godfrey walks free (The Age 26/5/04)
Court frees man who helped his mother die (IOL/AFP 26/5/04)
Brother responds to sentence handed down in assisted suicide case (ABC Tasmania 26/5/04)
Freed over mum's death (The Mercury 26/5/04)

27 May 2004