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Arrest over alleged assisted suicide highlights difficulty with current legal position

Two people were arrested last month in an investigation into what was thought to be plans to take a vulnerable adult to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland. Those arrested were thought to be the wife and son of the man in question. The focus of the police investigation will include seeking advice on whether the man has capacity to make a decision about whether he wishes to end his life in this way. If he has capacity then legally he would be allowed to do this and, following the  guidance issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2011, his family would be unlikely to be prosecuted if they assisted him (even though assisted suicide is unlawful in the UK). The case highlights the difficult of assessing capacity to consent and ensuring that any decision is not subject to coercion or pressure from others.