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Assisted suicide and the law

Assisted suicide remains a criminal offence in England and Wales, punishable by up to 14 years in prison, but individual decisions on prosecution are now made on the circumstances in each case.

Assisted suicide guidelines were issued in 2010
Assisted suicide guidelines were issued in 2010 Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Guidelines were issued in 2010 by the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer, QC which clarified the position on assisted suicide.

It was indicated that anyone acting with compassion to help end the life of someone who has decided they cannot go on would be unlikely to face criminal charges.

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Pair arrested over 'suicide plan' released on bail

A pensioner and her 25-year-old son have been released on bail after they were arrested on suspicion of encouraging or assisting a suicide.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "It is an offence to encourage or assist suicide under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and officers are investigating whether any crime has been committed or is likely to be committed if they do not take action."

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Pair arrested on suspicion of assisting a suicide

A 65-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of encouraging or assisting a suicide.

Sussex Police confirmed the pair were arrested in the Chichester area and it has been reported that they had planned to accompany a 71-year-old man to Switzerland to end his life.

Police are investigating to see if the man is able to decide to travel himself.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “The investigation is looking into what steps, if any, the suspects had made in taking the man out of the country.

“If it is confirmed the man had the mental capacity to make decisions for himself then we would not be able to prevent him travelling.”

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