Sunday, April 25, 2010

British Doctor First to be Charged Under New Assisted Suicide Guidelines

An excerpt from the article in the Telegraph:

Dr Irwin has written a letter to Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), effectively inviting criminal charges within weeks, for which the former GP could be jailed for up to 14 years.

Dr Irwin, who admits he had accompanied two other previous strangers to the Dignitas clinic to help them take their own lives, wants to make a test case out of his assistance in helping Raymond Cutkelvin to commit suicide three years ago.

Mr Cutkelvin, 58, a post office clerk from north London who was suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, chose to die in the "suicide clinic" in February 2007.

Mr Cutkelvin is one of some 140 terminally-ill Britons who have died with the help of Dignitas, which was founded in 1998. In Switzerland, "suicide clinics" are legal despite widespread criticism internationally and internally.

Just two months ago, Mr Starmer clarified the Suicide Act of 1961 which makes it an offence to assist a suicide. He published six "public interest factors against prosecution" and 16 "public interest factors in favour of prosecution".

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