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“Mercy killing” and suicide pact consultation submission

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10th April 2022

Read the joint CNK-ODOC response to proposed changes to prosecution guidelines

“Mercy killing” and suicide pact consultation subm

In January, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced "a public consultation on a proposed revision to its legal guidance on Homicide: Murder and Manslaughter. The purpose of the consultation is to provide interested persons with an opportunity to provide comments and to ensure the final version of the guidance is informed by as wide a range of views as possible. The proposed revision is intended to provide guidance to prosecutors on the public interest factors relevant when considering a death arising from a suicide pact (prosecuted as manslaughter - see section 4(1) of the Homicide Act 1957) or a so-called 'mercy killing'."

In our joint CNK-Our Duty of Care submission, we argue that "this planned publication [of factors tending toward or against prosecution# does not introduce prosecutorial discretion, which already exists; it simply softens a publicly firm and easily understood statement while giving the appearance of a weakened law."

Image © Steve Calcott / licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License 2.0

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