Proposed guidance in England stated that Prosecutors are less likely to pursue mercy killings whereby the suspect is “wholly motivated by compassion” or where the person had reached a “voluntary, settled and informed decision to end their life”.
It has been that the Crown prosecution Service will not necessarily operate under the proposals as they are likely to bring controversy. The CPS stated that if there is enough evidence “a prosecution is almost certainly required, even in cases such as the ‘mercy killing’ of a sick relative”.
The CPS continued by stating the regardless of the reforms “a suspect is not immune from prosecution if they claim it was a mercy killing or failed suicide pact”.
Chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Williams, stated that the proposals “could cause great harm to individuals and society” and that they could “weaken the protection the law provides for human life”.
It was further discussed that the proposed guidance does not address assisted dying which are considered separately under the law. Ultimately, it will be for prosecutors to decide whether or not the legal test has been satisfied and the circumstances of each case should be considered on an individual basis with the main consideration being whether it is in the public interest to pursue.