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Assisted suicide in Britain: How anyone helping someone to

Terminally ill Noel Conway, of Shrewsbury, is trying challenge a ruling he says denies him a ‘peaceful and dignified’ death

Under the Suicide Act 1961, anyone helping or encouraging someone to take their own life in England or Wales can be prosecuted and jailed for up to 14 years if found guilty of an offence.

Section two of the act states that a person commits an offence if they carry out an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, and the act was intended to encourage or assist suicide or an attempt at suicide.

In 2015 MPs including former prime minister David Cameron rejected a Bill to legalise assisted dying.

Opposition to changing the law has come from faith groups, campaigners who say disabled people may feel pressured to end their lives and campaigners who fear assisted dying would become a business.

Earlier this month, terminally ill Noel Conway won the first stage of a court bid to challenge a ruling he says denies him a ‘peaceful and dignified’ death.

The 68-year-old says he feels ‘entombed’ by motor neurone disease and wants medics to be able to help him die when he has just six months left to live.

The retired lecturer from Shrewsbury lost a High Court fight in October last year to allow him to bring about his death in the way he wishes. But he has now been given the go-ahead for a full hearing at the Court of Appeal.


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