DPP guidance is “unconstitutional”, says lawyer
England is in danger of following the Netherlands down the road of
illegal but tolerated euthanasia, according to a London legal expert.
In a biting article in the Solicitors Journal Jacqueline Laing declares that ” It
precisely the failure to prosecute that gave the Netherlands its
status as a progressive state permissive of euthanasia decades ago.
This inevitably led to its legalisation”. And she points out that
Australian euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke has already suggested
that his supporters consider travelling to England where they can evade
Director of Public Prosecutions is currently conducting a public
consultation about penalties for assisted suicide at the request of the
Law Lords. But despite the fig-leaf of democratic consensus-building,
Dr Laing claims that the guidance is “unconstitutional, arbitrary and at odds with human rights law, properly understood”.
her argument is that the guidance constitutes euthanasia by stealth.
Significant changes in legislation are the province of Parliament, not
the judiciary, and still less a consultation paper.
contends that euthanasia is incompatible with human rights such as
non-discrimination and equal dignity and that it will lead to
discrimination against the vulnerable and depressed. The future is
bleak: “Once this unconstitutional and illegal guidance becomes
financial, scientific and medical interests willincentivise what can
only be described as homicidal practice.”
The Royal College of Physicians has also weighed into the debate with a stern letter to the DPP. Its registrar, Dr Rodney Burnham,
suggests that any doctor who participates in assisted suicide should be
prosecuted. The College’s position is that “Assisting suicide has been
clearly and expressly outside our duty of
care since Hippocrates and must remain so for the integrity of these
professions and the public good.” ~ Solicitors Journal, Jan 19; London Telegraph, Jan 19
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