Tuesday 21 February 2017

Dearbhail McDonald: Laying down guidelines will not be easy

Published 07/12/2012 | 05:00

WHEN the House of Lords ordered Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions to issue a policy setting out when people who help their loved one's to die face prosecution, it was a turning point.

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It led to the release of "realistic and compassionate" prosecutorial guidelines following a legal challenge by multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy.

The 2010 UK guidelines focus on motivation and seek to draw a distinction between someone acting out of compassion to help an incurably ill but competent person to die – unlikely to face the courts – and those who persuade or pressurise a victim to kill themselves, who probably would.

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