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Assisted Dying

Volume 706: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham of 26 November (WA 292), what is the legal position of persons who assist others to commit suicide, having regard to the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute relatives who help someone who is terminally ill to die. [HL203]

It is an offence under the Suicide Act 1961 to aid, abet, counsel or procure the suicide or attempted suicide of another person. All cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, including offences under the Suicide Act 1961, are independently reviewed on their own merits and in accordance with the code for Crown prosecutors. Where there is sufficient evidence and a prosecution is in the public interest then a prosecution will follow.