The latest guidelines released by Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have once again stirred the debate on mercy killing. It aims to draw lines between those who help loved ones kill themselves and those who end a life for some selfish motive.
I feel, the concept of mercy killing depends on case to case for each case is unique and has to be considered on its own facts and merits. It is a complex and emotional issue and should be dealt with sensitivity.
People who are relatively sick or who suffer from incurable diseases should be freed from the ordeal.
It is imperative to understand that the victims are in so much pain that they choose death over life. I think that is enough reason to help them kill themselves rather than forcing them to live a life accompanied with intolerable suffering. For instance, if a person suffering from multiple sclerosis in last stage and wants to put an end to his life, he should be allowed to do so.
If the victim expresses a desire to commit suicide, it is better to give him a heavy dose of some drug to eliminate physical anguish.
In addition, the person assisting in suicide should not be prosecuted or imprisoned. He has helped the person committing a suicide out of compassion and because he could not bear to see the victim in pain.
But there are greedy relatives who might persuade or pressurize the victim just to get rid of him and acquire his property or other useful assets. In such a case, it would definitely lead to a prosecution.
I hope the new guidelines will support close relatives and friends who assist in suicide and not convict them on charges of murder.