Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 15:50 UK

Church hosts euthanasia workshop

The Reverend David Coleman
The Reverend David Coleman said the centre was being open

An Australian doctor offering workshops on how to commit suicide will give a talk on euthanasia at a church base in Brighton next month.

Euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke, who runs Exit International, will give his talk at the Brighthelm Centre.

The Reverend David Coleman, who runs the centre, said it was a place where people could discuss things carefully.

Sussex Police said it was against the law to encourage suicide but it was difficult to comment in advance.

Rev Coleman said: "Why should we be intimidated?

"Why should the fear be cranked up to that level?

"We want to be holy ground. We want to be a place where people can discuss things carefully."

And he added: "As always we try and be as open as we can."

Cancelled booking

A Sussex Police statement said: "In relation to the legality of holding a meeting to discuss euthanasia, it is difficult to comment as we cannot be certain in advance what will be discussed on the day.

"However, the Suicide Act does state that 'a person commits an offence if they encourage or assist a suicide'.

"This law would be applicable regardless of whether a meeting was taking place in a public building or a private residence."

Last year, Dr Nitschke was left searching for a venue in East Sussex after the Langham Hotel in Eastbourne cancelled his booking.

Eastbourne Borough Council also declined an approach by Exit International to use one of its venues.

At the time, Dr Nitschke said it was a bizarre situation that he had never experienced before.

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Reverend David Coleman invited the Australian physician Philip Nitschke to host a talk next month in Brighton



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