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Dignity in Dying’s statement on the DPP’s decision not to prosecute Michael Bateman

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has ruled that Michael
Bateman will not be charged for assisting
his wife’s death in October 2009. Despite having sufficient evidence to charge Michael Bateman, the CPS
decided that it was not in the public interest to do so as his wife, “had
a clear and settled wish to commit suicide” and Mr Bateman’s motivation
was wholly compassionate.

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:

“The Crown Prosecution Services’ decision on
Michael Bateman is a clear demonstration that the Director of Public
Prosecutions’ guidelines are working well, by recognising the difference
between assisting someone to die out of compassion, at their request, and a
malicious or self-serving act which results in the death of another.

“But the guidelines do not provide a
safeguarded means of assisted dying and without that people are forced to
attempt suicide at home in secret. A safeguarded assisted dying law would allow
dying adults to make an informed decision following open discussions with loved
ones and health professionals.

“It’s obvious that all cases of assisted dying
should be investigated, but an investigation and possible prosecution after
someone has died is no substitute for up-front safeguards. A safeguarded
assisted dying law where cases are considered when someone asks for help to die
rather than after they have died, would do far more to protect against
abuse or coercion.

“Assisted dying legislation is something that
society wants, that common sense demands – and those patients, families and
loved ones facing tough choices deserve. Dignity in Dying will continue to
fight for a change in the law.”


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