Friday, March 7, 2014

UK judges reject euthanasia but rule that more clarity is needed on assisted suicide prosecution guidelines.

A concerning decision in the UK, last July, unanimously upheld the prohibition on euthanasia but found in a 2 to 1 decision that more clarity was needed by the assisted suicide prosecution guidelines in the UK.

The case in the UK brought to the courts by a man known as "Martin" the judges found (2 to 1 decision) that the prosecution guidelines in the UK concerning assisted suicide needed more clarity. The UK Telegraph reported:
In a landmark case brought by a man living with locked-in syndrome, two Court of Appeal judges agreed it was currently unclear whether doctors and others would be brought before the courts for assisting a suicide and said it should be “spelt out unambiguously”.
In a similar case, all three judges rejected the Nicklinson challenge on the prohibition of euthanasia. Euthanasia is an act of homicide.

The Telegraph reported the decision as saying:

It is a serious criminal offence to assist someone to take their own life, but DPP guidance makes clear that friends or family members are unlikely to be prosecuted for assisting a loved one’s suicide. 
Their position was clarified following a case brought by Debbie Purdy, in 2009. Purdy lives with multiple sclerosis. 
Martin’s lawyers argued that similar clarity was not available to others, such as doctors, nurses, carers or social workers, who may be called upon to assist a suicide.
Opponents of assisted suicide warned it was a worrying development, however.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, said: “Why is it that when an able-bodied person wants to commit suicide we try to talk them out of it and offer them support, but when a disabled person wants to commit suicide we focus on how we can make that possible? 
“It is no surprise disabled people feel many people think their lives are worthless and that they are a burden.” 
Care Not Killing also said it was “concerned” by the judgement.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it was seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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