End of life choices
Posted on 6:52am Friday 15th Jan 2010
The operation in England and Wales of Section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961, which provides that it is an offence to aid, abet, counsel or procure the suicide or attempted suicide of another, has become increasingly controversial.
The provision has recently been the subject of judicial review in relation to the policy of prosecution ( or not ) of persons who help those who wish to commit suicide to travel to countries, such as Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal.
In Scotland, to assist the suicide of another is not a statutory offence; instead, it would be proceeded with under the criminal law relating to homicide and the consent of the victim would not be a defence to any charge.
A proposal has been made to introduce a new law in Scotland to permit physician assistance to persons who wish to end their own lives.