The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has been closely following the trial of Evelyn Martens in Duncan B.C. Bev Welsh, a retired palliative care nurse, has been attending the trial on a daily basis, to ensure that the information the organization has is accurate.

Martens was charged with aiding and abetting the suicide deaths of Monique Charest and Leyanne Burchell of British Columbia.

The trial began Sept. 20, with the lawyers for Evelyn Martens obtaining a draconian publication ban that banned the publication of evidence from the trial, as well as any comments referring to Evelyn Martens. One week later, a group of media outlets asked for a change in the publication ban to allow them to publicize the trial. The judge changed the publication ban, but left in a clause that barred any negative commentary about Evelyn Martens until a five-man, seven-woman jury renders its decision.

But the facts of the case can be reported.

One such central fact is that Monique Charest was “fixated on her death.” Charest had told a friend that she decided to die at the age of 64 and that she had a disease called porphyria. Her father died of porphyria when he was 64. She told the same friend that she had a vision of her parents and felt they wanted her to join them.

The doctor for Charest indicated that she was not terminal, but had been treated for chronic back pain and other non-terminal ailments. He stated that she did not have porphyria. Significantly, she had also been treated for depression.

Leyanne Burchell had stomach cancer that was diagnosed threwe years before her death. She had made all her funeral arrangements and even had a party to commemorate her life. She had been a member of both the Right to Die Society of Canada and Vancouver’s Goodbye Society.

The doctor for Burchell told the courts he had seen her one week before her death. He stated that she probably had only a few weeks to live.

The trial was expected to last until the end of October.

Martens indicated in previous articles that she would appeal any conviction, which would result in the EPC seeking intervenor status.

Alex Schadenberg is executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.