A mother who helped her incurably ill daughter to die faced a charge of attempted murder despite guidance designed to make it easier for relatives to help loved ones end their life.
Bridget Kathleen Gilderdale, 55, known as Kay, admitted assisting her daughter Lynn's suicide, but prosecuting lawyers decided she should face a charge of attempted murder.
The case was referred to Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer when she was originally accused and again in November last year, after new guidelines were brought in to clarify the law surrounding assisted suicide, a Crown Prosecution spokesman said.
Because the case involved what was deemed attempted murder, a reviewing lawyer for the CPS decided the new guidance did not apply to Mrs Gilderdale's case.
Two judges questioned whether she should have faced trial for her role in her daughter's death, who was paralysed from the waist down by ME and led an "unimaginably wretched" life.
It has been reported that in a pre-trial hearing Judge Richard Brown suggested that prosecutors should accept her guilty plea to assisted suicide and drop the attempted murder charge. He said: "Wouldn't it be better to accept it now rather than let this defendant get tangled up in a messy trial for the sake of some legal mumbo-jumbo?"
Then on Monday trial judge Mr Justice Bean asked prosecutor Sally Howes QC to explain "why it was considered to be in the public interest" to pursue Mrs Gilderdale on the attempted murder charge.
She said that the case was decided at the "highest level". "There was no submission of no case to answer and the matter went to the jury," Ms Howes said.
Mrs Gilderdale was cleared of attempted murder at Lewes Crown Court on Monday and received a 12-month conditional discharge for assisting the suicide.
A CPS spokesman said: "The allegation was that, while acting out of love, she tried to take Lynette's life and we believed that tipped the scale from assisting Lynette's suicide to attempted murder. The decision to charge Mrs Gilderdale was not taken lightly and followed careful consideration of the evidence."