Internet: Suicide

Attorney General written question – answered on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answers by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 7 November and Lord Ashton of Hyde on 6 November (HL Deb, col 1594), what steps they are taking under the Suicide Act 1961 to prosecute those responsible for internet sites that incite, aid or abet the promotion of suicide.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

The Director of Public Prosecutions has published a ‘Policy for Prosecutors in Respect of Cases of Encouraging or Assisting Suicide’. In this policy, the DPP makes the CPS position clear that, in the context of websites that promote suicide, a suspect may commit the offence of encouraging or assisting suicide, if it is intended that one or more readers of such material will commit or attempt to commit suicide.

In considering whether or not to bring charges under section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961, a Crown Prosecutor will apply the Full Code Test as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, giving consideration to both the evidence and the public interest in prosecuting, as they would with any other offence.

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