Assisted suicide ban upheld in Ireland: appeal likely

Judges suggest compassionate exception might be made

A three judge panel of the Irish High Court has rejected a suit by a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis to strike down the absolute ban on assisted suicide.  The court held that it would be impossible to craft an exemption to cover her particular case that would not have implications for other cases and ultimately endanger other vulnerable people.  The Court also ruled that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) cannot issue guidelines to indicate what factors would be considered in deciding whether or not to prosecute someone for assisting a suicide, nor can the DPP be consulted in advance in particular cases.  However, the judges commented that the DPP might exercise discretion if there were reliable evidence of compliance with factors similar to those set out in prosecution guidelines issed by the Director of Public Prosecutions in England.  They added that they were sure that the Irish DPP would exercise discretion humanely and with sensitivity.  The decision is likely to be appealed. [Irish Times; Appeal Likely]

One thought on “Assisted suicide ban upheld in Ireland: appeal likely

  1. The ruling and judges’ comments about the role of the Irish Director of Prosecutions appears to suggest that Irish prosecution policy with respect to assisted suicide should, by means of winks and nods, be guided by English policy. In that case, even if the Irish DPP unofficially adopts English guidelines, it is unikley to affect objecting health care workers.

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