New UK Policy On Assisted Suicide May Hold Intent As Key

February 25, 2010

UK (ChattahBox) – As the debate for and against assisted suicide rages on, a new set of guidelines in the UK may allow family members who assist in the suicide of loved ones to avoid prosecution based on intent.

Already, it has been made clear that family who assist suicides are unlikely to face trial at this point if it can be proven that they were doing so with the wishes of the patient, and that there was only a desire to end their pain involved.

This is significant, as it addresses cases where the assistant could financially benefit from the suicide.

“The policy is now more focused on the motivation of the suspect rather than the characteristics of the victim,” Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, said in a statement.

“The policy does not change the law on assisted suicide. It does not open the door for euthanasia.

“It does not override the will of Parliament. What it does do is to provide a clear framework for prosecutors to decide which cases should proceed to court and which should not.”

The guidelines are hoped to create a little less ambiguity about what constitutes murder versus assisted death.

The law, however, has not changed, and until a decision is made one way or the other based on the issue it is doubtful they will provide that much more clarity for the courts.

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