Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Message is in the Verdict

RIP Daniel James

This is, of course, a tragic case. Nobody wishes to see the death of their own son. Unfortunately, however, this verdict is another victory for the Culture of Death, because the message it sends out is that if you want to pay for assisted suicide in another country that that is not a matter of the public interest and that if you assist someone in their suicide that it is not a matter worthy of criminal prosecution.

Daniel James, 23, was the youngest Briton to die at the Dignitas clinic, which he attended with his parents, Mark and Julie, who had admitted that they helped him end "a second-class existence".

A criminal investigation was launched on their return to the UK, but in a landmark decision, the Crown Prosecution Service said that it was not in the public interest to press charges against the couple.

Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "This is a tragic case involving as it does the death of a young man in difficult and unique circumstances. While there are public interest factors in favour of prosecution, not least of which is the seriousness of this offence, I have determined that these are outweighed by the public interest factors that say that a prosecution is not needed.

"I would point to the fact that Daniel, as a fiercely independent young man, was not influenced by his parents to take his own life and the evidence indicates he did so despite their imploring him not to. I send my condolences to Daniel's family and friends."

The student's death renewed the controversy about assisted suicides. More than 100 Britons have travelled to the Dignitas clinic, although most are in the final stages of a terminal illness. No relatives have been prosecuted and it is believed that this is the first time the CPS have considered a file on the "aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the suicide of another" relating to the Digitas clinic.

Daniel, a former schoolboy international, was paralysed from the chest down after his spine was dislocated when a scrum collapsed while training with Nuneaton Rugby Club in March last year. His condition is not believed to have been terminal and he is understood to have made some progress in regaining the use of his fingers.

Mr and Mrs James agreed that they had assisted Daniel to send documentation to Dignitas, made payments to the clinic from their joint bank account, made travel arrangements to take Daniel to Switzerland and accompanied him on the flight. For more click here...

1 comment:

me said...

My son was in the bed next to Daniel in walsgrave hospital, before he was transferred.

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