Suicide pact

Reduces an offence of murder to manslaughter where the survivor is the other person taking part in a joint suicide pact.

The Homicide Act 1957  sets out the defences of diminished responsibility and suicide. Section 4 of the Homicide Act 1957 reduces an offence of murder to one of manslaughter where the survivor is of a joint suicide pact, who took part in the killing of another person in the pact.

However, it is a separate offence to actually assist another to commit suicide if the defendant has no intention of committing suicide him or herself.

The Suicide Act 1961 goes on to amend parts of the The Homicide Act 1957 and states that 'The rule of law whereby it is a crime for a person to commit suicide is hereby abrogated'.

With regard to Criminal liability for complicity in another’s suicide the Act states that:

(1)A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another, or an attempt by another to commit suicide, shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.
(2)If on the trial of an indictment for murder or manslaughter it is proved that the accused aided, abetted, counselled or procured the suicide of the person in question, the jury may find him guilty of that offence.
(3)The enactments mentioned in the first column of the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect subject to the amendments provided for in the second column (which preserve in relation to offences under this section the previous operation of those enactments in relation to murder or manslaughter).

This is an indictable only offence, which can only be prosecuted by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

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