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Gosling arrest stokes euthanasia debate. -

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ELEANOR HALL: Yesterday he made a dramatic televised confession. Today a British journalist at the
centre of a debate on euthanasia in the UK was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The World Today reported yesterday on BBC journalist, Ray Gosling's admission in a documentary that
he killed his former lover who was dying from AIDS by smothering him with a pillow in hospital.

The latest developments have galvanised those calling for assisted suicide to be legalised in
Britain, as Barney Porter reports.

BARNEY PORTER: Ray Gosling is a veteran BBC broadcaster, and maker of radio and television
documentaries.

His admission was compelling.

RAY GOSLING: I killed someone once. He was a young chap; he'd been my lover and he got AIDS. And in
a hospital one hot afternoon the doctors said 'There's nothing we can do'. And he was in terrible,
terrible pain.

I said to the doctors, 'Leave me just for a bit' and he went away, and I picked up the pillow and
smothered him until he was dead. The doctor came back; I said 'He's gone'. Nothing more was ever
said.

BARNEY PORTER: But much is being said now.

Police have admitted they only found out about the case after those comments were broadcast on the
BBC's 'Inside Out' programme on Monday evening, local time.

Overnight, Nottinghamshire police issued a statement, simply saying they'd arrested a 70-year-old
Nottingham man on suspicion of murder.

Mr Gosling has also said he won't name his lover, nor say when the incident he described took
place.

His solicitor is Digby Johnson.

DIGBY JOHNSON: The investigations are at a very, very early stage. There's no saying how long Ray
will be here, but he is in good spirits and I just ask you to respect that these are very, very,
difficult times for Ray, because by his very nature the sort of thing that we're talking about is
as distressing as it could be.

BARNEY PORTER: Despite repeated challenges in the courts, assisted suicide remains illegal in
Britain, and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

However, dozens of terminally ill Britons have gone to die in clinics in Switzerland where assisted
suicide is legal, and where family or friends who help them die aren't prosecuted.

There have been anomalies.

Earlier this year, British woman Kay Gilderdale was cleared of attempted murder for helping her
31-year-old daughter commit suicide after years of suffering from the chronic fatigue syndrome, ME.

But days earlier, another mother, Frances Inglis, was given a life sentence with a minimum of nine
years in jail for giving her severely disabled son a lethal heroin injection, after a road accident
had left him with brain damage.

Britain's chief public prosecutor has issued interim guidelines on whether to bring charges against
people who help their loved ones to die, and invited public comment.

He's due to publish his final guidelines soon.

Dr Philip Nitschke is a well-known advocate of legal assisted suicide.

He says in 1995, the Northern Territory became the first jurisdiction in the world to allow
assisted suicide, under strict conditions.

PHILIP NITSCHKE: That didn't last long - eight months and then that was overturned by federal
government, and the federal government passed law then that said that territories couldn't make
such laws. So that ruled out the ACT, the Northern Territory and Norfolk Island ever making such a
law, and everyone went back into the relatively same situation that suicide is not a crime. It's
been decriminalised in all jurisdictions but anyone who assists usually is subject to fairly savage
penalties.

The only variation from the states was the savagery of the penalty and you had in Western Australia
and Queensland still possible life imprisonment and in fact the Northern Territory has still got
possible life imprisonment for assisting suicide.

BARNEY PORTER: However, Dr Nitschke says the states and territories have tried to deal with the
right to refuse treatment.

PHILIP NITSCHKE: They vary in how broad they are and how, if you like, patient friendly they are.
The most recent one to pass and be enacted was Western Australia a couple of weeks ago. Probably
one of the best in Australia is Queensland. But that's to do with refusing treatment, it's not
about allowing someone to get help to die - you can't go and ask for help to die. All you can say
is, 'I don't want that treatment'.

BARNEY PORTER: Recently, Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria all tried to introduce legislation
similar to the original Northern Territory law and more attempts are being planned.

PHILIP NITSCHKE: The one that's coming up next is probably going to be South Australia and that's
probably got the most chance of passing, given that South Australia has a longer history of
attempting to get these pieces of legislation through the state parliament. And the change in
composition of the Legislative council after the state election coming up in South Australia will
probably mean it may well pass.

That law will be a very strictly controlled variation on what the territory had. You'll have to be
just about dead to qualify, but if you do qualify a doctor will be lawfully able to give you the
drug that will be needed to allow you to die.

BARNEY PORTER: As in Britain, the euthanasia debate here is far from over.

ELEANOR HALL: Barney Porter reporting.