North East urged for views on assisted suicide - public consultation ends in a week's time!

09/12/2009

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, is calling on people in the North East to give their views on his interim policy on assisted suicide.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, is calling on people in the North East to give their views on his interim policy on assisted suicide.

Mr Starmer, who leads the Crown Prosecution Service, has already published the factors he takes into account when deciding whether or not to allow assisted suicide prosecutions and has since asked for public feedback.

Mr Starmer said: "I am keen for as many people as possible to take part in this debate. I recognise how sensitive this area of law is and I respect the fact that there are many people who hold strong views on assisted suicide. I want to hear those views and that is why I have launched a public consultation.

"By considering as many opinions as possible, I can produce a final policy which is true to both the law and public feeling."

Assisting suicide has been a criminal offence in the UK for nearly 50 years, and Mr Starmer said his policy did nothing to change that. He said: "There are also no guarantees against prosecution and it is my job to ensure that the most vulnerable people are protected while at the same time giving enough information to people who want to be able to make informed decisions about what actions they may choose to take.

"I also want to make it perfectly clear that this policy does not, in any way, permit euthanasia. The taking of life by another person is murder or manslaughter, which are among the most serious criminal offences."

Anyone who wishes to view the policy and complete the consultation document can visit www.cps.gov.uk or write to the Assisted Suicide Policy Team, Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters, 6th Floor, 50 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7EX to obtain a copy.

The closing date for responses is December 16 and the finalised policy will be issued in Spring 2010.