AG: Suicide is a medical issue, not a crime

| 15/12/2020 | 10 Comments
Cayman News Service
Attorney General Sam Bulgin in Parliament on Monday

(CNS): Attorney General Samuel Bulgin told his parliamentary colleagues on Monday that suicide is a mental health issue and not a crime, as he presented an amendment to the Penal Code to decriminalise it. The law was passed unanimously by members on both sides. No one in modern times who has tried to take their own life has been prosecuted but Bulgin said it was time to remove the crime from the statute books.

As he presented the amendment, the attorney general explained that, in line with international statistics, suicidal thoughts were increasing significantly among young people but they were not seeking treatment for such mental health issues.

He said the Cayman Islands was among only a minority of countries that still had the law on the books. And even though it was not enforced, the legislation was believed to be a contributing barrier to people accessing the help they need. Changing the law would encourage those who have suicidal thoughts to get treatment, not punishment, he said.

“Treatment rather than prosecution is the appropriate and recommended response to persons struggling with a mental health crisis,” Bulgin said.

Referring to research that was carried out by the Law Reform Commission, he said various stakeholders had contributed to the decision to amend the law and pave the way for better access to treatment. Bulgin said that it was the Alex Panton Foundation that had originally petitioned government to make the change and the mental health charity had played a part in the consultation which led to the amendment.

Anyone suffering severe depression, especially thoughts of suicide, should
call 911 immediately, or

The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, 24/7, at +1 (345) 943 2422
– Toll Free 1-800-534 CICC (2422)

The CICC Kids Helpline, Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, at +1 (345) 649 5437

The Counselling Centre at +1 (345) 949 8789

Department of Children & Family Services at +1 (345) 949 0290

Inclusion Cayman at +1 (345) 321 2957

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Category: Health, Laws, Mental Health, Politics

Comments (10)

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  1. Not Q-Anon says:

    And what if someone committed suicide? Would law enforcement be able to apply a penalty to the perpetrator… after they are no longer living? So what sense did it make to have this as a CRIME? Would they put the crime on his/her criminal record for future reference?

    • GetUpStandUp says:

      No, but it makes a difference in regards to matters of Life Insurance Policies and Estate Planning (the administration of Wills etc) to name a few.

  2. Anonymous says:

    SUicide is a mental/medical issue. Cayman must now see it now as that.

    Mental health is a big problem here and this aspect along with the building of a proper mental health institution is needed. Stop footing around and buildingit.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was a suicide hotline operator. There is an interesting religious foundation to how awful the families of suicides have been treated as a result. Widows were often cast out of the family to be homeless, the suicide victim could not be buried in the family’s plot of a church graveyard, etc.
    Science and humanity are slowly overtaking harmful superstitions.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Taken long enough to do this. Suicide was decriminalised by the UK in 1961. Prior that is was viewed as ‘self-murder’.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Bullying leads to suicide too. You need to stop Sandra Catron-Hill sir. What the hell your department doing? You waiting on someone to kill themselves to pull her ICT licence? Her style of reporting is not good for the Cayman Islands and she has no regard for law. The judge warned her yesterday about her conduct and manner of broadcasting and she stood on the Court steps minutes after and accused someone with they mouth of hers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great, can we treat drug use in the same manner?

    Rather get someone the treatment they need / rehab than to get sucked into the prison cycle – that we pay for.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean like the Drug Court? Sounds like the judicial branch already with you so its not the Attorney General to direct your ‘petition’ to.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful now do the same for recreational drug use and stop arbitrarily criminalising certain addictions while looking the other way as people get hooked on alcohol and prescription drugs and no one blinks

    Addictions of all varieties require treatment not imprisonment

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