Press Release

Commenting on the Law Commission`s report on the reform of the homicide law ( press reports 20/12/05 ) the Medical Ethics Alliance said;

"By making so called "mercy killings" a lesser offence, a serious injustice could be done to those who are terminally ill, severely disabled or incompetent. The recommendations in the report that would open the way to an enhanced defence of "provocation" or "diminished responsibility", could open the way to non custodial sentences being routine in cases where the victim was ill, even if nowhere near death.

Already, in recent years a number of judgments and sentences could have led the public to think that not all lives are of equal value, and that some killings are virtually tolerated allowing the guilty to walk free.

It should not be forgotten that euthanasia was first introduced into the Netherlands as a result of aquittals and an understanding between doctors and public prosecutors. This led to guidelines, which were widely disregarded and later led to permissive legislation.

Britain should not embark on a similar slippery slope."

Dr Anthony Cole
Medical Ethics Alliance

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