VES asks for new laws on euthanasia

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) has asked the Government to issue clearer guidelines on its ‘death tourism’ policy.

VES chief executive Deborah Annetts has urged the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to explain whether an English citizen could be prosecuted for breach of the Suicide Act if they assisted a terminally ill family member to die abroad.

Richard Tur, the Benn Law Fellow at Oriel College Oxford, said the DPP has the ultimate power under the act to decide if a case should be prosecuted.

He said citizens have a right to know what principles the DPP is working to, so “they may regulate their conduct accordingly.” He added: “Decisions, before or after the event, as to whether a case is to be prosecuted or not, must be governed by some set of rational principles rather than whim.”

Annetts said: “It is unacceptable that friends and families who accompany a terminally ill adult abroad for assistance to die are confronted with the added burden of not knowing if they will face prosecution on their return. The DPP must publish their policy as a matter of urgency.”