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Debbie Purdy appeal decision

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30th July 2009

Care Not Killing comments on the Law Lords decision to request a clarification on the assisted suicide law

Care Not Killing comments on the Law Lords decision to request a clarification on the assisted suicide law:

The issues involved in this case are difficult ones. We understand Ms Purdy's wish to protect her husband from prosecution in the event that he should help her to go abroad for assisted suicide. The Court has required the Director of Public Prosecutions to publish an offence-specific policy statement making clear the considerations to which he will have regard is deciding whether to consent to a prosecution in cases such as this. To the extent that this improves the clarity of the way the law is administered, it is to be welcomed.

The Court has also observed, however, that such a policy statement will not provide Mrs Purdy's husband with a guarantee of non-prosecution in the event that at a future date he should assist his wife to go to Switzerland for assisted suicide and that its intention is to provide Mrs Purdy with information about the facts and circumstances the DPP would take into account in deciding whether to prosecute.

The Court has also recognised that it is Parliament's responsibility to make the law and that this Judgment is designed simply to improve clarity in the way the law is administered.

Parliament has recognised only three weeks ago, in its substantial rejection of Lord Falconer's amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill, that there are serious public safety implications involved in creating loopholes in the law to meet the wishes of a determined and strong-minded minority.

For media inquiries, please contact Alistair Thompson of Media Intelligence Partners Ltd on 07970 162225 or 0203 008 8145.

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