Assisted suicide case rejected by the High Court

The High Court has ruled against a man who is seeking to change the law on assisted suicide.

Noel Conway, a 67-year-old man, wants doctors to help him commit suicide because of his terminal illness.

The decision was welcomed by pro-life group Care Not Killing, which said: “This is not a day for celebration. This was a troubling case that sought to usurp the democratic will of Parliament.

‘Troubling case’

“The current laws on assisted suicide and euthanasia are simple and clear. They exist to protect those who are sick, elderly, depressed, or disabled from feeling obliged to end their lives.”

Two High Court judges ruled against Conway, but one, Mr Justice Charles, ruled in his favour.

Conway’s legal team argued that the current law is not compatible with his basic human rights.

Defeated

However, Lord Justice Burnett said it remained “institutionally inappropriate” for a court to make a declaration of incompatibility when Parliament has recently expressed its view on the matter.

A Bill to legalise assisted suicide was soundly defeated in the House of Commons in 2015. Following a lengthy debate, MPs voted 330 to 118 against Rob Marris’ Private Members’ Bill.

Conway, who has motor neurone disease, has already signed up with assisted suicide facility Dignitas, in Switzerland.

He was supported in his case by Dignity in Dying, formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and says he will appeal the Court’s decision.

UK vote

Assisted suicide remains illegal in the UK.

Under the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a person who intentionally encourages or assists the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, commits an offence which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

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