The Sunday Post reported that under the draft guidance, cases where the suspect was motivated only by compassion, where they tried to take their own life at the same time, and where they fully cooperated with the police would be less likely to result in prosecution.
If there is no evidence that the person wanted to die, Hill added, the case would be treated as a murder. In addition, if the victim were under 18 or did not have the mental capacity to decide to end their own life, those would be factors in favor of prosecution.
A consultation period on the proposed guidelines launched Jan. 14 and is due to conclude April 8.
“[The new guidelines] means that in some cases charges will be brought, but in others we will be able to avoid placing a loving husband or a loving wife in court to face criminal charges,” Hill said, in reference to a high-profile case from 2019.
In that case, a U.K. court acquitted an 80-year-old woman accused of killing her husband Dennis, 81, with a lethal dose of prescription medicine. Mavis Eccleston told jurors that her husband wanted to end his life after receiving a terminal diagnosis of bowel cancer. He had stopped treatment except for pain management medication, and he had reportedly talked about going to Switzerland to take advantage of legal assisted suicide in the country.
The couple decided to end their lives together with a lethal dose of medication, and reportedly wrote a note to their family explaining their decision.
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