9th December 2008, 14.15
Dignity in Dying comments on the Director of Public Prosecution’s decision not to bring charges against Daniel James’ parents.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said today:
“Dignity in Dying welcomes the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) decision not to bring charges against Mr and Mrs James. This is an extremely sad case and we are glad that this matter has now been brought to a close.
“We fully agree that it is not in the public interest to bring a prosecution against Mr and Mrs James, but it is in the public interest to seek answers to the questions that this case and other like it raise.
“It is time for a full public debate on whether our current law is fit for purpose. Due to a lack of a safeguarded choice, people are forced into making desperate and often dangerous decisions, people are travelling abroad to die, there are ‘mercy killings’, botched suicides and some doctors already assist their patients to die at great potential cost to their livelihood and freedom.
“We need clarity in the law. People should be able to make an informed decision about whether they are likely to face prosecution if they accompany a loved one abroad to die. We also need to debate whether the law should change to allow mentally competent, terminally ill adults to have the choice of an assisted death at home in the UK. This debate should include who the law should apply to and what safeguards should be included. Ultimately, we believe a more patient centred and compassionate approach to end-of-life decision making is possible.”
Notes to editor:
About Dignity in Dying:
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population supports a change in the law on assisted dying.
The Suicide Act 1961
Section 2 of the 1961 Suicide Act states that “a person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another, or attempt by another to commit suicide shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years”
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