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Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

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2000 responses as assisted suicide consultation comes to a close

11/12/2009

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has today called for final contributions to his public consultation on his interim policy for prosecutors in respect of cases of assisted suicide.

He said: "I have already received over 2000 responses from both individuals and organisations since I published my interim policy in September, which I am sure is an indication of the strong views many people hold on this issue. I urge those who may still want to contribute to send their views to my assisted suicide policy team.  All the responses will be considered when drafting the final policy."

The consultation is due to close at 5:00pm on Wednesday 16 December with the final policy due for publication in spring 2010. Until the final policy is published, the interim policy will be applied to all cases.

Ends

  1. The interim policy and consultation documents can be found at this link: www.cps.gov.uk/consultations/as_index.html
  2. The public consultation was launched on 23 September 2009. The press notice accompanying the launch can be found at this link: www.cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/144_09/
  3. Section 2(1) Suicide Act 1961 provides:
    "A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another, or an attempt by another to commit suicide, shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years."
  4. The Suicide Act 1961 is applicable when a substantial part of the aiding, abetting, procuring or counselling of the suicide occurs in England or Wales. The suicide itself can be committed in any country.
  5. As with every other case, the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code) will be applied: there must be enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. If the case does not pass that evidential stage, it must not go ahead no matter how important or serious it may be. If the case does pass the evidential stage, consideration must be given to whether a prosecution is needed in the public interest.
  6. The Code sets out a substantial number of factors both for and against prosecution in all types of case. The interim policy sets out further factors which are more directly related to cases of assisted suicide which also need to be considered.
  7. Video footage of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, making a statement on his policy is available for download from the CPS website at www.cps.gov.uk
  8. Media enquiries by email: CPS Press Office or by phone: 020 7710 8127. Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  9. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  10. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Division. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  11. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol