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House of Lords debates assisted suicide guidelines

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The House of Lords discusses how cases of encouraging or assisting suicide are handled by the Crown Prosecution Service

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On 5 March 2014 the House of Lords held a short debate on the policy for prosecutors, published in 2010, relating to cases of encouraging or assisting suicide.  Among those who spoke was former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald. "It would be foolish to assume", he said, "that everyone counselling a suicide acts from pure motives or that malice and venality is always absent".  "The equation we have developed - a broad legal prohibition on the one hand to deter those acting out of malice, and a carefully explained prosecutorial discretion on the other to protect those who act from genuine compassion - strikes the right balance", he told Peers.  The full Hansard record of the debate may be read here.