The context here is a video game, which I won't name as it'd be a bit of a spoiler, but the relevant part of the plot is: The deuteragonist's boyfriend was guided and goaded to suicide by one of the antagonists, who gave full details on how to end his life, how to obtain the materials, etc, etc, etc. The story took place in England, but I'm looking for general viewpoints that would apply to multiple jurisdictions.

The deuteragonist went on a quest of vengeance, rather than seeking legal recourse. My question is: Had she been able to positively identify the person who did this, would he have been able to be charged with a crime? Or alternatively, would she have been able to sue him in civil court?

All the materials used were completely legal (I'm not 100% sure if the physics and chemistry actually work, but I'm not asking about that). There were significant difficulties in identifying the person behind the user name, which constitute a significant portion of the game's plot, but if there'd been anything definitely illegal happening, it would have been possible to bypass a lot of that via a subpoena to an ISP. But if what he did wasn't illegal, then the next question is: what is the legal status of a vengeance rampage against him? I suspect she may possibly have been opening herself up to some serious criminal charges.

  • Does this answer your question? Is it legal to intentionally manipulate a person towards suicide?
    – user4657
    May 11, 2020 at 9:01
  • @Nij that only has an answer for Australia. May 11, 2020 at 9:30
  • Identical question except different jurisdiction, and nothing prevents the addition of an answer there to cover England and Wales or the UK. @PaulJohnson
    – user4657
    May 11, 2020 at 10:56
  • Someone went to jail for this in Massachusetts : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Conrad_Roy
    – Hilmar
    May 11, 2020 at 12:25
  • Cool, thanks for those pointers. With those plus the accepted answer, I'm going to conclude that she should have just gone to the police and gotten some help tracking him down. Of course, that wouldn't have made much of a story...
    – rosuav
    May 12, 2020 at 8:40

1 Answer 1


In England and Wales, under section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 (as amended by section 59 and Schedule 12 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009) it's a criminal offence to do an act capable of encouraging or assisting someone to commit suicide. I think that applies to Scotland too, and there is similar law in Northern Ireland.

Encouraging suicide is also a criminal offence in some other common law jurisdictions, e.g. in Australia. While in other common law jurisdictions, if there isn't such a law, the person might instead be prosecuted for manslaughter - or not at all.

The minimum, maximum and recommended penalties may well differ between jurisdictions.

I don't know what you mean by "vengeance rampage" but I'm not aware of any jurisdictions where it is lawful for a person to cause harm to someone for revenge. States tend to reserve for themselves a monopoly on the use of force.

  • "States tend to reserve for themselves a monopoly on the use of force." Yeah. Like how death row inmates are protected from harm - "you don't get to kill yourself, WE get to kill you". The law is a funny thing sometimes.
    – rosuav
    May 12, 2020 at 8:38

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