'Unfair and unjustified': A Jersey man's call for an assisted dying law

  • Video report by ITV Channel reporter Sophie Dulson

A terminally ill islander says Jersey's law on assisted dying is "unfair" and "unjustified" and he is calling for it to be changed. Alain du Chemin was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2019 and was given 14 months to live.

The type of cancer Alain has means the latter stages of his life could be undignified, and he has told ITV News he wants to be able to die "on his terms" and "with dignity". Following the diagnosis Alain made plans to travel to Switzerland to end his life at an assisted suicide centre in Zurich, called Dignitas.

His call for change comes as a Citizen's Jury meets to discuss whether Jersey should introduce an Assisted Dying law.

Alain du Chemin says a place at Dignitas is his plan B. He's still hopeful, he can become part of a research trial to find a cure. Credit: ITV News

I really find it difficult to understand how it could be justified to force me to die and go through a lot of the things I don't want to go through. I do not particularly want to go through the potential symptoms of an advanced brain tumour which can be very different person-to-person.

Alain du Chemin

Earlier this year Alain and his now husband, Paul Gazzard, tied the knot on Valentine's Day. It was a chance to create some lasting memories together, before Alain travels to Zurich for an assisted death.

Paul Gazzard says his main concern is "knowing when to travel to Dignitas". In order to make the journey to Switzerland, Alain needs to be well enough to fly to a different country and to make the choice to die himself. This could mean Alain and Paul may lose precious time together.

Alain and Paul tied the knot on Valentine's Day. They wanted to create some lasting memories together, before Alain travels to Switzerland. Credit: ITV Channel

I think for me the main concern now is that fine line between when you go to do it and was it a little bit too soon, and where everyday is precious to spend time with each other, that's probably the part that I'm grappling with at the moment.

Paul Gazzard

Alain is now calling for changes to the law in Jersey to permit assisted dying. He does not want people in a similar situation to him to have to travel abroad to end their life.

He says it is an "inequitable" choice, and one that comes at a cost. The trip to Zurich costs around £25,000, as current travel restrictions mean private flights are the only option.

He wants the law to be changed and for his story to be taken into consideration when it is reviewed later this year.

Alain hopes his story will be taken into consideration when Jersey's law is reviewed. Credit: ITV Channel

I'm really hoping that when the law is reviewed by the Citizen's panel and the States, that my situation is something that they will think about because to me it's completely wrong as it is at the moment.

Alain du Chemin

Alain has not yet booked the date for his final journey, and he is still hopeful he can become part of a research trial to find a cure for his cancer. But with uncertainty about the future, his aim for now, is to make each day count.