Mercy Killing, Partial Defences and Charge Decisions: 50 Shades of Grey

Amanda Clough*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The revolution of the partial defences to murder by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 may have had a catastrophic impact on cases of mercy killing.1 While previously shoehorned into the diminished responsibility plea, the medicalisation of this defence may prevent such a ploy. However, a recent case has offered insight into the circumstances which may still result in a manslaughter conviction for mercy killers through a new avenue previously thought impermissible. This article will discuss the case and those similar, alongside charging decisions and just results. Mercy killing remains a grey area in the criminal justice system, but is there light at the end of the tunnel?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-227
Number of pages17
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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