Monday, October 20, 2008

Case of assisted suicide of British rugby player may be prosecuted

Daniel James, 23, (pictured) from Worcester, UK became paralyzed when spine collapsed during a training session at Nuneaton Rugby Club in 2007. The BBC reports below that his Sept. 12 assisted suicide is being referred to the Crown Prosecution Office. Other stories in the UK media include:

The case of a rugby player who died in a Swiss assisted suicide clinic is to be referred to the complex case unit of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Daniel James, 23, from Worcester, was paralysed when he suffered a collapsed spine in a training session at Nuneaton Rugby Club, Warwickshire in 2007.

Police are investigating after he died in Switzerland on 12 September.

Lawyers are to decide if anyone should face charges over Mr James's death. A man and a woman have been interviewed.

Mr James' parents, Julie and Mark, from Sinton Green, Worcester, are under investigation over his death last month.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: "We haven't received a file as yet from West Mercia Constabulary.

"But as soon as we do we will then be in a position to decide whether to proceed with the case or not."

The former pupil of Worcester Royal Grammar School was paralysed from the chest down as a result of the accident in March 2007.

Assisted suicide is illegal in the UK, although the practice is tolerated by the authorities in Switzerland.

The clinic Dignitas, where all known British assisted suicides have taken place, said that due to privacy laws it could not disclose whether Mr. James had been there.

In a statement on Friday Mr James' parents said he did not want to live a second-class existence and had tried several times to kill himself before he "gained his wish".

His parents said his death was "no doubt a welcome relief from the 'prison' he felt his body had become and the day-to-day fear and loathing of his living existence".

A trust set up in his name has since raised nearly £25,000 for spinal research.

Mr James also played for the England Universities rugby team and England Students team.