Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said he believes there was enough evidence to convict Evelyn Martens of aiding and abetting a suicide.

He said that the prosecution did not have to prove that she physically assisted the suicide, only that she provided the means.

Schadenberg cited the evidence that was offered at the trial: “Consider the following facts: Monique Charest died on Jan. 7, 2002, with Evelyn Martens present. During the trial, Dr. Philip Kerswell stated that he had been treating Charest for several years, but none of her medical conditions were terminal. She suffered from low thyroid, a digestive condition and serious back pain, conditions experienced by many Canadians. Monica Kateley, a friend of Charest, stated that Charest claimed to have had a vision of her deceased parents. She wanted to die so she could join her deceased parents. Monique Charest needed professional care, not assisted suicide.”

Brenda Hurn, a fellow Right to Die Society of Canada member who testified at Martens’ trial, said she saw a plastic bag and hoses attached to a helium tank in Charest’s apartment, but that she was not present when Charest died. She overheard Martens ask Charest if she still wanted to go through with it. Hurn said she saw Charest eating apple sauce laced with sleeping pills, followed by an alcoholic beverage. Charest also had a conspicuous plastic bag draped over her forehead.

Testimony revealed the plastic bag, sedatives and helium are components of what is known as an “exit bag” protocol by euthanasia campaigners. Martens was forbidden from selling the device from her internet clearing house as a condition of her bail.

Martens admitted to an undercover police officer, who posed as Charest’s god-daughter, that she was present at the woman’s suicide.

Crown Attorney Neil MacKenzie said that police transcripts of Martens’ conversation demonstrated her intention to assist with Charest’s suicide plans. He recounted that Martens said, “We had talked about this over two years and I said we can still change our plans. But she was so happy we were helping her with it. She wanted us there to help her with it, so she would not fail.”

MacKenzie said that a search of Martens’ van turned up equipment for committing suicide, including an “exit bag,” a plastic bag with a Velcro fastener to go around a victim’s neck and helium tanks and prescription drugs made out to Burchell, who was found dead by police on the day of Martens’ arrest.

– Interim Staff