State: Nothing stopping DPP from issuing guidelines on assisted suicide

The State does not object to the Director of Public Prosecutions issuing guidelines on when assisted suicide cases will be prosecuted.

Lawyers for terminally ill woman Marie Fleming have told the High Court that the DPP should indicate whether there is a public interest against prosecution in a case of her kind.

The 58-year-old wants to end her life at her Co Wicklow home but fears her partner Tom Curran may face a criminal charge if he helps carry out her wishes.

Last August, the DPP Claire Loftus turned down a request from Marie Fleming for guidelines on when assisted suicide cases may be prosecuted.

Today her lawyers told the High Court it is not the director's role to explain how to commit a crime without getting charged but they said all the circumstances of a particular case would be considered before a decision is made.

But Marie Fleming's lawyers say what is starkly lacking is an indication by the DPP as to whether the public interest might be engaged against prosecution in a case of this kind.

Lawyers for the State say there is nothing stopping the DPP from issuing guidelines as long as they do not grant immunity or suggest the director will never prosecute a particular category of offence.

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