28.2 C
Byron Shire
February 27, 2024

Tweed Exit member’s late-night police questioning

Latest News

Short film awesomeness

Flickerfest and iQ are back, Thursday to Saturday at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall. Go on a remarkable cinematic journey...

Other News

Woman missing from Evans Head

Police are asking the public for help finding a woman reported missing from the Evans Head area but also known to frequent the Ballina area.

Community tree planting in Mullum Feb 24

Want to help locally to care for our environment and plant trees for our wildlife?

Editorial – Prosecuting publishers

WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen, Julian Assange, will soon face possibly his final court hearing in the UK High Court of Justice over whether he should be extradited to the US to face spying charges. 

Wallum update: protectors at the ready

The fight to save the Wallum heathland in Brunswick Heads has gone into overdrive, with dozens of locals staunchly holding the line on-site, while thousands more lobby state and federal politicians in pursuit of permanent protection.

More than 80 new Tweed Hospital jobs

The Northern NSW Local Health District is advertising more than 80 full time equivalent roles at the new Tweed Valley Hospital, due to open in mid-May. 

Knock down Byron’s forests

And another FU to the community, from the dominantly pro-development Council. Submissions due by 23 February on the proposed...

Chris Dobney

Jim*, a disabled pensioner living in the Tweed, was paid a surprise middle-of-the-night visit on Friday (May 25) by local police to inquire as to his ‘mental state’ and whether or not he had imported the euthanasia drug Nembutal.

Jim told Echonetdaily two police shone torches through the windows of his duplex and banged on the door at around 10.30pm while he was in bed asleep.

A carer answered the door and then had to bundle Jim out of bed and into a wheelchair so he could answer their questions.

Jim, who is a member of Exit International, said he was ‘groggy’ after being woken up and ‘caught off guard’ by the police’s ‘concern for welfare’ visit.

He told the male and female officers his mental state was fine –it was his physical body that was deteriorating. He also denied importing the drug.

Exit members targeted

Nembutal is a drug advocated by Exit for people with terminal and advanced illness who wish to end their lives in relative comfort. It is not available in Australia and is illegal to import.

Jim was one of at least three Exit members who were visited by police in Qld, Vic and NSW over the weekend, co-ordinated by the Australian Federal Police.

Jim said that when the police came to the door his first thoughts were ‘my wife of my children might be in trouble’.

‘They asked my friend if I was here and when he said I was in bed he said ‘we want to know if he’s purchased a euthanasia drug’.

‘They then wanted to know how my mental state was, and he said I was fine.’

Jim then had to be wheeled in to answer the police questions.

No police ID

He said the officers, who were in police uniform, didn’t identify themselves and, still half asleep, he was feeling too groggy to ask.

‘I didn’t ask them for any ID but if they were impersonating police they were doing a damned good job of it,’ he said.

Jim said the male officer did all the talking while the female officer ‘looked daggers at me’.

He said the officer was ‘nice enough’.

‘He mentioned an amount of Nembutal that had allegedly been purchased and a date – and I said “I don’t think I want to say anything”.

‘He asked if I had a terminal illness then asked me how I was: “Are you OK? We’re just here to check and see if you’re all right”.

‘He said he’d got an email from the Australian Federal Police’ asking him to check up.

Money trail

Jim recently attended an Exit meeting at Robina but the group doesn’t believe its records have been compromised.

Elaine, the Gold Coast convenor of Exit, says she believes police have ‘followed the money trail’.

‘Suspects could be identified by their payment method,’ she told Echonetdaily.

‘There was a case in New Zealand recently where Western Union handed over their payment records which resulted in a woman being charged with assisting suicide and importing an illegal drug.

‘She was not convicted on the first charge but was convicted on the second and fined $7,000,’ Elaine said.

She added that members here were frightened that police might return with a search warrant.

‘They told one member they would now “report back and take whatever actions necessary,”‘Elaine said.

Disproportionate: Greens

Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said it was ‘hard to imagine something more disproportionate than night time raids on… elderly people who are in extreme pain or suffering who might be contemplating ending their lives’.

‘If the police have real reasons to suspect breaches of the law they can attend properties in the daytime, with appropriate warrants to make their inquiries,’ he said in a statement.

‘In the absence of an offence, police are skating perilously close to declaring membership of [Exit] a thought crime.

‘Police wellness checks should not be used to advance political ends as appears to be the case here,’ Mr Shoebridge said.

The Greens are calling on the Police Commissioner ‘to urgently review any and all NSW Police involvement in these events’.

Welfare concerns: AFP

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) deny co-ordinating the times of the visits, however, and have declined to indicate why they thought Jim and the other targets of their interest might have imported the drug.

A spokesperson made the following comments to Echonetdaily:

‘The AFP has not conducted warrants in relation to this matter.

‘Once the AFP became aware of potential importations of a restricted substance, the AFP acted in a coordination role, and requested assistance from state and territory police to conduct visits to individuals potentially involved in importing the substance.

‘These visits were focussed on ensuring the health and welfare of the individuals,’ the spokesperson said.

*Jim’s real name has been withheld on his request.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. I’m horrified if our police think this action could possibly be considered as a caring call in middle of night to someone with a major or terminal disease.

    And am so sad at what Australia seems to be becoming. Time to pay closer attention to rights and freedoms being eroded and speak out.

  2. These raids are focused on ONE VIEW of what is in the person’s best interest – as such they are politically motivated raids

  3. Whose mental health should be in question?Certainly not the victim of the late night raid. We should be more concerned at what is happening in the Mid-Est than harassing some elderly man late at night causing no trouble to any other person.
    Shame on you!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Marching in with a bang!

Get your party pants on as Nudge Nudge Wink Wink marches in with a bang this Saturday. Arrive early and leave late! Two incredible guest DJs join the Cunning Stunts residents in the Shed.

Bangalow Film Festival starts next week!

Bangalow Film Festival is back for its fourth year and the full program is available in all its cinematic glory – and it starts next week. Grab the popcorn and settle in for exclusive world and Australian premieres of critically-acclaimed feature films, award-winning documentaries, beloved classics, plus masterclasses with industry experts, Q&A sessions, special guest encounters and surprise events.

Interview with Lydia Lunch and Joseph Keckler

Tales of Lust & Madness is a new show from Lydia Lunch, New York’s ‘punk poet queen of extremities’ and Joseph Keckler, a singular performer once crowned the ‘best downtown performance artist’ in New York City.

Tintenbar-East Ballina face tough test to make LJ Hooker cricket finals

Tintenbar-East Ballina (TEB)senior cricketers face a stern test to make it through to the finals of the LJ Hooker first grade league after losing to Casino in their most recent two day-game.