Thursday, September 24, 2009
This week England's top prosecutor released guidelines for determining when his office would prosecute people who violate the country's prohibition on assisted suicide. The guidelines contain factors that make prosecution more or less likely:
- There are "13 factors that could influence the authorities not to prosecute. These include the person aiding a suicide being motivated by compassion; the deceased clearly wanting to die; and the deceased being terminally ill, being severely physically disabled or suffering from an incurable degenerative disease." Sarah Lyall, Guidelines in England for Assisted Suicide, NYT, Sept. 23, 2009.
- There are 16 factors that could influence the authorities to prosecute, including " the deceased being under 18, mentally handicapped or not sure about his or her wishes, or not being seriously disabled, being terminally ill or suffering from a degenerative disease. They also include the person aiding the suicide pressing someone into it or being motivated by personal gain." Id.